NYSCASA Monthly Digest – February 2020

Do you have news for NYSCASA to share in our next digest? Email submissions with “Newsletter” in the subject line to Chelsea Miller, Communications Director, at cmiller@nyscasa.org.


Coalition News



Seeking Candidates for NYSCASA Board of Directors

NYSCASA is seeking candidates for its Board of Directors, including one or two representatives from member rape crisis programs.

We are interested in candidates from all regions of New York State who have knowledge and skills in: nonprofit management; organizational planning; fund raising; finance; personnel management; legal matters; or public relations. We are looking for candidates who are prepared to: raise funds; support the executive director; engage in Board and organizational development, including long-term planning; ensure the agency’s legal and ethical integrity and maintain accountability; and donate to the agency.

For more information or to apply, please contact Sam Mitchell at smitchell@nyscasa.org or 518-482-4222 x311.

Coming Soon: PREA Portal

NYSCASA is pleased to offer an online portal for PREA advocates in New York State to facilitate collaborating and sharing resources. The PREA Portal is under construction. Stay tuned for more information! If you have ideas or questions, please contact E Bjorkman at ebjorkman@nyscasa.org.

Cultural Safety: Moving Beyond Cultural Competency

In 2019, NYSCASA staff had the privilege to attend a two-day training on cultural safety, presented by Seven Dancers Coalition in Akwesasne, also known as the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation. Read staff reflections on our blog: nyscasa.org/cultural-safety

Ending Solitary Confinement Is Survivor Justice

On January 21, NYSCASA staff joined over 800 people at the New York State Capitol for HALT Solitary Advocacy Day, organized by the New York Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement (NYCAIC). The campaign calls on lawmakers to pass the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act (S.1623/A.2500) to end prolonged solitary confinement in New York State.

Solitary confinement is a survivor justice issue. “Protective custody” or “segregated housing,” which uses the same cells as solitary confinement, is often used to allegedly ‘protect’ incarcerated people who report sexual abuse or assault or may be vulnerable to victimization during their incarceration. The federal Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) standards recommend against using “protective custody” or “‘involuntarily’ segregated housing” for this purpose.

NYSCASA Joins Coalition Calling for Release of Incarcerated Elders

In October, NYSCASA co-signed a letter, alongside several victim/survivor support organizations, urging lawmakers to pass legislation that would allow for the release of incarcerated people who are age 55 or older and have served more than 15 years in prison. The measure would allow the Parole Board to determine whether an older applicant is suitable for release. Read the full letter here.


Upcoming Events


Webinar Series: Ending Violence Without Violence

NYSCASA is pleased to announce our new webinar series, Ending Violence Without Violence, which will serve as lead-up programming for our conference of the same name (see below). The series will introduce participants to the core principles of Restorative Justice, Transformative Justice, Community Accountability, and other community-centered approaches to violence prevention and response.

Participants will develop a shared analysis of interpersonal violence—specifically sexual violence—and a shared understanding of the importance of community-based approaches to sexual violence prevention and intervention. The webinar series will underscore the importance of building communities that can prevent sexual violence, respond to harm, and heal trauma.

February 5: Restorative Approaches to Sexual Violence

This webinar will introduce participants to the core principles of restorative justice. Participants will learn about how restorative practices can be used to address sexual violence. This session will also address concerns and challenges to implementing restorative justice practices. Presenter: sujatha baliga (Impact Justice).

Register here: bit.ly/Restorative2020

February 19: Transformative Approaches to Sexual Violence

This webinar will introduce participants to the core principles of transformative justice and community accountability and how these frameworks can be used to address sexual violence. Presenters: Stas Schmiedt and A. Lea Roth (Spring Up).

Register here: bit.ly/Transformative2020

Ending Violence Without Violence Conference (Syracuse, NY)

NYSCASA is thrilled to announce that we are co-creating a conference to be held in 2020 with Seven Dancers Coalition, the Indigenous anti-violence coalition in New York State and Haudenosaunee Country, and Interrupting Criminalization: Research in Action, a new project led by Mariame Kaba and Andrea Ritchie at the Barnard Center for Research on Women. The 2020 Sexual Assault Prevention and Intervention Conference will be held in Syracuse, NY, on June 4–6, 2020, with a pre-conference institute on June 3.

This conference will provide a space for survivors, advocates, counselors, victim assistance programs, allied organizations, and community members across New York State to develop the knowledge, skills, and courage to implement community-centered practices to prevent and respond to harm and sexual violence.

Speakers and registration information to be announced.

Sign up to receive updates about the 2020 conference here: bit.ly/NYSCASA2020


Webinars from Ally Organizations


Sexual Violence in the News



Recommended Reading


Restorative Approaches to Intimate Partner Violence

The Center for Court Innovation recently released a report that documents how restorative approaches are currently being applied to intimate partner violence (A.K.A. domestic violence) in the United States. Through surveys and site visits at 34 programs addressing intimate partner violence and/or sexual assault through restorative, indigenous, culturally-based, or transformative approaches, the study’s findings inform a set of guiding principles and practice recommendations for the field. Read the full report here.

Books to Support Healing from Sexual Violence

Healing Honestly recently put together a list of books to support survivors’ healing from sexual violence. NYSCASA has sent some of these books to member rape crisis programs, including Love WITH Accountability: Digging Up the Roots of Child Sexual Abuse, Queering Sexual Violence: Radical Voices from Within the Anti-Violence Movement, and Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good. Check out the full book list here.


Recommended Viewing


Building Accountable Communities: A Video Series

Accountability is a familiar buzz-word in contemporary social movements, but what does it mean? How do we work toward it? In this series of four short videos, anti-violence activists Kiyomi Fujikawa and Shannon Perez-Darby ask and explore: What does it look like to be accountable to survivors without exiling or disposing those who do harm? Watch the full series here.


Advice from a Loving Bitch Episode 19: Three Women Rising

In the aftermath of child sexual abuse, how do we heal, how do we fight back, how do we break the cycle, how do we find joy? Rythea Lee, Aishah Shahidah Simmons, and Donna Jenson tackle these questions in this episode of Advice from a Loving Bitch: https://youtu.be/CV5mlyBW6_I