In WCSAP's 2006 issue of Connections, Sexual Assault: Not Part of the Penalty, we explored the issue of sexual assault in correctional facilities. A lot has changed since then. Although the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) was passed in 2003 to address sexual assault and abuse in prison, it was not until 2012 and 2014 that the final PREA standards that govern implementation of this law took effect.
One thing that has not changed since our last exploration of the issue of sexual assault in correctional facilities is the essential nature of advocacy services for incarcerated survivors. These survivors have access to few resources. Connecting with an advocate who can: validate their experience and normalize their reactions, partner with them to develop an informed safety plan, support them at a forensic exam or help them understand the PREA investigation process, and most of all, help create conditions that support their empowerment in a setting with very little power and choice, is nothing short of a lifesaving service.