After 12 years with WCSAP, I have made the difficult decision to transition out of the organization beginning January 9th. Effective that day, I am stepping down as the ED, however, will continue to support WCSAP's policy work through the upcoming legislative session as the Policy Director. The Board and I have been working these past few months to ensure the smoothest departure possible.
I've truly cherished my time as Executive Director and will forever hold it dear to my heart. I am incredibly proud of the Coalition's work, our programs statewide, and the advances our State has made in addressing sexual violence and supporting the needs of survivors.
It's been an honor and privilege to have been entrusted with the Coalition and to carry voices of programs and survivors to the legislature, across the state, and nationwide over these past 12 years. I've been fortunate to work with survivors, amazing advocates, directors, statewide agencies, federal agencies and departments, coalitions, colleagues across disciplines, a dedicated staff and Board of Directors, and many other individuals who are dedicated to social change.
I take pride in the expertise, programming, resources, and leadership the Coalition provides across Washington and nationwide. It has been a gift to be part of the WCSAP story and legacy.
As I write this, I am reflecting on my tenure and accomplishments of which I am particularly proud. I maintained coalition infrastructure, oversaw operations, worked on coalition grants and projects, trained, provided technical assistance, served as lead on legislative and policy work, and advocated for laws, policies and operations that would create change and move the movement forward. I'm extremely proud of the breadth of work, thankful for the vast opportunities, and appreciative for the support and people I've met along the way. It is truly inspiring and humbling.
In the last 12 years, the Coalition sought out and was awarded grants to fund innovative collaborations and pilot projects, like Where We Live a child sexual abuse prevention program, farmworker outreach, and working with pregnant and parenting teens. We also had a wide array of partnerships and collaborations, including co-trainings and grant work with WSCADV, building relationships with disability advocates and long term care, and finding partnership in sex offender management needs/practices.
We've created quality products, offered hundreds of trainings, provided technical assistance, maintained and grew funding for sexual assault responses, passed victim-centered and trauma-informed laws, and helped advance and guide a shift in discourse and response to sexual violence in Washington State. I'm so very proud of this body of work and thankful for the WCSAP staff and Board who helped make it all possible.
There is so much to celebrate. I am extremely proud of programmatic work and the advancements made in the public policy arena. During my time here, I was able to push forward a significant volume of meaningful legislation as the policy lead. I celebrate not only the number of quality bills that were passed, but also the success in stopping legislation that would be problematic for survivors and sexual assault work. I was fortunate to help pass legislation that was supportive to survivors and the programs that serve them, bills that promoted community safety, and those that promoted social change and were socially critical issues like marriage equality and speaking out against the attempted repeal of Washington's non-discrimination protections.
I successfully pushed for rape kit reforms which brought about rules for sexual assault forensic collection, storage, handling and increased funding for kit testing. As part of these reforms, a requirement was put in place, mandating law enforcement to pick up kits from collection site within 90 days and to forward them to the crime lab for testing. Law enforcement who regularly interfaces with sexual assault victims must receive training on trauma-informed victim interviewing. The first class was held at the Criminal Justice training commission in November. The bills are numerous and prioritized the testing of rape kits, the development of a rape kit tracking system, and improving responses to victims.
I worked for several years to see the passage of legislation that would create a pathway for survivors who become pregnant as the result of rape to get relief from being forced to co-parent with their rapist. The bill successfully passed in 2017. Other key wins include protecting funding, trafficking protections, elimination of the martial rape exception, workplace rights, addressing sexual harassment, enhanced protection order coverage for victims, increased the statute of limitations, protected privacy rights, advanced victim rights and benefits, and laws that enhanced community safety.
I served as the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Sex Offender Policy Board for many years. I also served on a multitude of workgroups, taskforces, and special issue committees and steering groups. I always endeavored to show up in excellence and carry the mission of WCSAP and sexual assault needs into those spaces. This gave way to strong collaborations and increased support and system responses to sexual violence.
I was a founding member of the team who crafted the statewide advocacy response system for survivors who are incarcerated. The PREA response services program is robust and serving individuals regularly. This is one of the many accomplishments and large-scale projects I've had the honor to work on.
I've cherished my time with WCSAP and remain passionate and inspired by our staff, Board, programs, colleagues, and the Movement's commitment to comprehensively address the specific needs of sexual violence victims and survivors, and to do so through an anti-oppression lens. I'm so proud of our vast accomplishments. We are coming up on our 40-year anniversary and I'm honored to have been part of WCSAP's history. Through strategic leadership, a dedicated staff, and engaged members, we've accomplished so much!
I will be leaving as Executive Director to work as a lobbyist and independent contractor. I will be supporting WCSAP with the transition of their policy work as the Policy Director through June. I will be working offsite on the Hill or in related meetings. My email will remain the same firstname.lastname@example.org until the end of June, after that I can be contacted at email@example.com. Thank you again for the honor of serving as Executive Director.
The WCSAP Board has a transition team in place. Stay tuned for the position posting.
I'm excited to watch WCSAP and sexual assault programs continued growth over the next 40 years!
With much gratitude,