NYSCASA Monthly Digest — April 2022

NYSCASA’s Monthly Digest is a monthly publication that highlights news, events, and resources to support survivors and advocates.

What’s in this digest?

  • Announcements from NYSCASA and allies
  • Upcoming events from NYSCASA, members, and allies
  • Policy news
  • Sexual violence prevention resources and news
  • Resources and news about sexual violence in schools
  • Resources and news about sexual violence in prisons and jails
  • Trauma and mental health resources and news
  • Job opportunities

To submit announcements for inclusion in NYSCASA’s Monthly Digest, send updates to info@nyscasa.org with “Newsletter” in the subject line.

To receive the Monthly Digest in your email inbox, sign up for NYSCASA’s mailing list at bit.ly/NYSCASAnews.


April Is Sexual Assault Awareness Month!

Throughout the month of April each year, survivors and allies raise awareness about sexual assault and how to disrupt violence in our communities. This year’s national theme is “Building Safe Online Spaces Together.”

Together, we can make a difference to build inclusive, safe, and respectful online spaces. We invite you to join us this April in making respect the norm everywhere, taking action to promote the safety of others, and showing survivors they are believed and supported.

Join Us:

Learn more and access resources on our blog.

NYSCASA Website Issues Reported

NYSCASA’s website is experiencing technical issues and may be down intermittently.

If you encounter an error on our website or the page does not load, try refreshing your browser. If this does not work, please report the error to info@nyscasa.org.

Survivors seeking immediate support can call the 24/7 NYS Hotline for Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence: 1-800-942-6906

For general information and resources, please email info@nyscasa.org or call 1-518-482-4222.

Our staff are working remotely due to the pandemic, but messages on our general mailbox are checked regularly and we will respond as soon as possible.

Stay tuned for updates!

ACTION ALERT: Join Us in Calling on the Legislature to #FundTheGap Created by Federal VOCA Cuts

Survivors and victim advocates need stability now, more than ever. Governor Kathy Hochul has already agreed to designate $14.4 million from the state’s general revenues to the state Office of Victim Services to temporarily cover the shortfall. Now, it’s up to the Legislature to follow suit by dedicating $25 million to ensure victim services remain available beyond 2023. Otherwise, New York’s most vulnerable citizens will have nowhere to turn when seeking help.

Join us in calling on the Legislature to fund the gap created by federal VOCA cuts. Please consider tweeting, posting to Facebook, Instagram, or contacting your legislators directly, signaling that we maintain our request for $25 million in their one-house budget resolution to support victim services.

Here are some sample tweets you can use:

  • Crime victim survivors thank @GovKathyHochul for protecting NY’s victim services. Now we need the Legislature to do the same. #FundtheGap
  • TY @GovKathyHochul for recognizing the needs of NY’s crime victims. We urge the Legislature to dedicate $25 million to ensure all victims get the help they need. #SaveVOCA
  • @CarlHeastie @AndreaSCousins We urge you to follow @GovKathyHochul’s lead and protect New York victims’ right to obtain help when they need it. $25 million will ensure services remain available. #FundtheGap
  • It’s essential that New Yorkers continue to receive counseling, legal representation, and other support to build lives free from violence. @CarlHeastie @AndreaSCousins #FundtheGap

Thank you for your support and advocacy!

Invitation for Survivors to Submit Stories and Meditations in New Publication about Healing from Sexual Trauma and Substance Abuse

The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation invites survivors of sexual violence to submit their stories and meditations for inclusion in Hazelden’s new anthology, How We Heal: Meditations for Reclaiming Our Voices from Addiction and Sexual Trauma. Please note that this is an unpaid publishing opportunity. Survivors are able to publish anonymously if they wish.

Learn more and submit your story:

NYSCASA does not have further information.

Office on Violence Against Women Grant Opportunities

Upcoming Events from NYSCASA

For a complete list of upcoming events and training opportunities, visit our calendar at www.nyscasa.org/calendar.

Arts & Hearts April 2022 Meeting

April 28 at 10:00 – 11:00 AM ET

NYS-based survivors, victim services staff, volunteers, and other folks working with survivors are invited to participate in this peer sharing and learning collaborative focused on expressive arts for trauma informed wellness, preventing and addressing vicarious trauma and sharing vital practices. These informal conversations will be facilitated by Chrys Ballerano, Deb Faust, Fran Collet, and Karen Ziegler.

In our April meeting, Deb Faust will introduce two new participants who will share their practices with us. Joshua Malatino and Cohen Miles-Rath, from MHANYS, are both creative souls and will share their creative process with us. Cohen is a drummer, runner, writer and now a podcast host, and Joshua is a painter and collects affirmations to share with the world around him. Both will introduce some creative self-management tools that provide balance and a sense of wellbeing.

Click here to register.

Comprehensive Sexuality Education in New York State: Virtual Panel Discussion

May 3 at 7:00 – 8:00 PM ET

Sexuality education in New York State varies wildly by district. There are no statewide standards, leaving curricula dependent on each school district, created by each school within the district, and subjectively interpreted by the instructor. As a result, too many students do not receive thorough information about their bodies, healthy boundaries, or healthy relationships, leaving them vulnerable to sexual abuse, dating violence, and other negative health outcomes. On May 3, 2022, join NYSCASA and Equality New York for a virtual panel discussion exploring how comprehensive and inclusive sex education can advance the health and well-being of New York State’s youth.

Featured speakers include:

  • NYS Senator Jabari Brisport (he/him) – Co-sponsor of NYS Senate Bill S2584A, “Comprehensive Sex Education in Schools”
  • Dr. Kia Darling-Hammond (she/her) – CEO & Founder, Wise Chipmunk LLC, Education & Research Firm
  • Sarah Podber (she/her) – Prevention Director, New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault
  • Hugh Goldstein (he/him) – Student and Activist
  • Pascale (she/her) – Parent of Non-binary Child
  • Max Micallef (they/he/she) – Public Policy Director, New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault (moderator)

Click here to register.

Spring Healing Series with NYSCASA and the Resource Sharing Project

May 24, June 7, and June 14 at 1:00 – 2:30 PM ET

Please join NYSCASA and the Resource Sharing Project for a series of interactive conversations about healing from child sexual abuse and how advocates and other survivor-supporting professionals can better serve adult survivors of child sexual abuse.

The intended audience for these workshops includes NYSCASA Rape Crisis Program Members, NYSCASA Ally Organization and Individual Members, Advocates, Counselors, Allied Organizations, and Coalitions.


  • May 24: The Realities of Child Sexual Abuse in Adulthood
  • June 7: Healing in Adulthood
  • June 14: Centering Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse in Our Services

Learn more and register at www.nyscasa.org/spring-healing

Upcoming Events from Members and Allies

For a complete list of upcoming events and training opportunities, visit our calendar at www.nyscasa.org/calendar.

NYSCADV Survivors’ Financial Empowerment Series: The Allstate Moving Ahead Curriculum

Thursdays beginning April 7 through 28 at 2:00 – 3:30 PM ET

NYSCADV presents a series of four webinars based on the “The Allstate Moving Ahead Curriculum” for financial empowerment, created by the Allstate Foundation and NNEDV. Kim Pentico, Economic Justice Program Director at NNEDV, will be presenting the sessions.

Schedule of events:
  • April 7: Module 1: Understanding economic abuse, safety planning, divorce, and child support
  • April 14: Module 2: Fundamentals of financial empowerment, budgeting and saving, banking options, assets, and liabilities
  • April 21: Module 3: Credit report, understanding credit score, how to improve credit, and bankruptcy
  • April 28: Modules 4 & 5: Financial paperwork, home mortgages, auto loans, long-term financial planning, financing options to continue education, investments, retirement, and medical, and life insurance

Click here to learn more and register.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month Events Hosted by the Albany County Crime Victims and Sexual Violence Center

Beginning April 7

Join the Albany County Crime Victims and Sexual Violence Center for a series of events for survivors and allies. Whether you have just started your healing journey, are further along or have yet to decide how to start, we have something for everyone this month.

Schedule of events:

Additional events to be added. To learn more, visit sites.google.com/view/cvsvc/home.

Wellspring’s Maid Conversation Series

Thursdays beginning April 7 through May 5 at 6:00 – 7:00 PM ET

Join Wellspring for a 4-part FREE conversation series to discuss why leaving an abusive relationship is not only difficult, but often dangerous.

Inspired by Stephanie Land’s NY Times Bestseller and the Netflix show Maid, this series will discuss barriers victims face when leaving an abusive relationship. This conversation series leads up to Wellspring’s upcoming event with Stephanie Land, New York Times best-selling author and inspiration for the critically acclaimed global hit Netflix series Maid, on May 5.

Schedule of events:

PLEASE NOTE: A confirmation message will automatically be sent to the email address you provide. Please use an email address that is safe to contact you at. If providing your information is not a safe way for you to sign up for this event, please call Wellspring’s office at (518) 583-0280.

Two Years Later: The Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Domestic Violence

April 26 at 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM ET

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been long-lasting and have greatly impacted victims of crime and service providers. This is especially true for victims of domestic violence or intimate partner violence. This impact on victims in turn has had a considerable impact on domestic violence shelters and programs – on the staffing, workload, and overall well-being of advocates and employees.

In this webinar, we will review research findings and hear from service providers on how COVID-19 has impacted victims of domestic violence and victim advocate programs.

The presentation will include:

  • An overview of empirical studies about the impact of COVID-19 and domestic violence
  • Challenges service providers initially experienced and their response to help intimate partner and sexual violence survivors
  • Challenges providers face two years later and the impact on their programs and staff

Featured speakers include:

  • Susan Dietzel, Senior Research Scientist, Center for Human Services Research at SUNY Albany
  • Lindsey Crusan-Muse, Director, St. Peter’s Crime Victim Services
  • Heather Campbell, Executive Director, Advocacy Center of Tompkins County
  • Mary Brennan-Taylor, VP of Programs, YWCA of the Niagara Frontier

Click here to register.

How to Help an Adult Victim of Sexual Abuse in Family Court

April 28 at 12:00 – 1:30 PM ET

Sexual abuse, which encompasses a range of actions including unwanted touching, refusing safe sex practices, and coerced or forced sex, is often a part of the abuse experienced by a victim of intimate partner violence. While Criminal Court may be an option, victims of sexual abuse may turn to Family Court for help in the form of an Order of Protection. Several sex crimes are enumerated family offenses, and while inclusion of those offenses in the petition may be the best legal strategy, it may not always be in your client’s best interest.

This webinar will address:

  • Identifying sexual abuse within a relationship
  • Establishing an “intimate relationship”
  • Evaluating legal arguments and your client’s best interest when drafting a Family Offense Petition
  • Non-legal ways you can help your client

Featured speakers include:

  • Rebecca Stevens, Director, Child Advocacy Center, BestSelf Behavioral Health
  • Remla Parthasarathy, Senior Attorney & Project Leader, Crime Victims Legal Network, Empire Justice Center
  • Amy Molloy Bogardus, Regional Attorney Coordinator, Crime Victims Legal Network, Empire Justice Center
  • Laura Dwyer, Regional Attorney Coordinator, Crime Victims Legal Network, Empire Justice Center

Click here to register.

15th Annual Battered Mothers Custody Conference

April 28 to May 1

Now in its 15th year, The Battered Mothers Custody Conference is an annual grassroots, non-profit, all-volunteer conference dedicated to providing education, support, and networking opportunities to mothers seeking legal protections for themselves and their children from the family courts. This year, come together with fellow protective mothers, attorneys, advocates, activists, and mental health, self-help, and other specialists for a weekend of learning, relaxation, connection, and self-empowerment.

Go to batteredmotherscustodyconference.org for registration, brochure, schedule, and additional information.

Policy News

Fair Access to Victim Compensation

Survivors, advocates, and allies are calling on New York State to eliminate barriers to access victim compensation funds. Current New York Law requires that survivors file a police report in order to apply for reimbursement from the Office of Victim Services. While this arrangement works for some survivors, it denies essential material support to many other survivors who do not want to report the harm they experienced to the police for a variety of reasons. NYS Bill A.8619A (Meeks)/S.7573 (Myrie) would remove this burdensome and unnecessary barrier to victim compensation eligibility and ensure that all survivors have access to healing.

On March 24, the New York City Council passed Resolution 0025-2022, sponsored by Councilwoman Mercedes Narcisse which calls upon the New York State legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign, NYS Bill A.8619A (Meeks)/S.7573 (Myrie), which provides fair access to victim compensation to survivors of violence.

“Survivors of crimes related to sexual violence must have equitable access to the funds that help bring stability to their lives and empower survivors to the fullest extent possible. We are glad to see that the NYC Council agrees. NYSCASA would like to thank the sponsors of this bill, Assemblymember Demond Meeks and Senator Zellnor Myrie, for their advocacy towards this measure, as well as our partner organizations, including Common Justice, for their continued efforts to pass this bill. The proposed legislation will help New York State provide the economic justice that sexual violence survivors need and deserve. The New York State Legislature must see this truth as well.” — Max Micallef, NYSCASA Public Policy Director

Learn more and take action:

Be sure to join NYSCASA and Common Justice, who are partnering with the People’s Campaign for Parole Justice, for our upcoming Parole Justice and Survivor Justice Advocacy Day on April 15! RSVP: bit.ly/ParoleJusticeApril25

Governor Hochul Signs Legislation to Address Workplace Harassment and Discrimination

NYSCASA applauds the passage of legislation addressing workplace harassment and discrimination signed into law on March 16 by Governor Kathy Hochul. In particular, NYSCASA wishes to express our gratitude to the Sexual Harassment Working Group, whose testimonies revealed difficult truths about sexual harassment in New York State government and whose advocacy ensured that this legislative package received the attention it deserved. We also commend the efforts of Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou, Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas, Senator Alessandra Biaggi, and Senator Andrew Gounardes for their leadership in the Legislature and their commitment to implementing protections for New Yorkers who experience workplace harassment and discrimination.

Learn more about the legislative package on our blog.

President Biden Signs Appropriations Bill Reauthorizing VAWA With Critical Enhancements

NYSCASA applauds the House and Senate passage of the FY 2022 Omnibus Appropriations Act signed into law on March 15 by President Joe Biden, which includes the strong, bipartisan Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2022. NYSCASA commends the bold advocacy of our state’s U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer for their bold leadership in the U.S. Senate.

“We are grateful for the widespread support for ensuring sexual assault survivors, including those who are most vulnerable, have access to the resources they need for healing and wellbeing,” says Joanne Zannoni, Executive Director at NYSCASA.

NYSCASA’s Public Policy Director, Max Micallef, adds: “Seeing the intent of this measure implemented in full is a great policy victory for sexual violence survivors. The expansive access to these resources will benefit many victims of sexual assault, and guide them along their journey of recovery.”

Learn more about the VAWA Reauthorization on our blog.

NYSCASA Statement of Support for DNA Collection Limitation Bill (S8408/Hoylman)

NYSCASA applauds Senator Brad Hoylman and his office for demonstrating their continued support for sexual violence survivors by introducing bill S8408. The proposed legislation would amend New York State executive law to provide that no DNA sample, record, product, or evidence collected or resulting from the collection of DNA of a victim collected in a sexual assault forensic kit shall be included in the state DNA identification index.

Click here to read NYSCASA’s full statement on our blog.

NYSCASA Statement in Support of Legislation Prohibiting Court-Ordered Rape (S08351/A08546)

As an organization that seeks to protect, heal, empower, and advocate for survivors of sexual violence, NYSCASA supports the immediate passage of S08351/A08546, which prohibits courts from ordering the victim to undergo a gynecological or physical examination. The re-traumatization of victims through mandatory physical examinations, also known as “court-ordered rape,” is detrimental to their health and wellbeing.

Perspectives and News About Policy Related to Sexual Violence

Sexual Violence Prevention

FREE Two-Day Virtual Facilitator Training: Healthy Relationships Project

June 8 and 9 at 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM ET

This two-day training will equip attendees with the knowledge and skills necessary to facilitate the Healthy Relationships Project, a school-based child sexual abuse prevention curricula. The Healthy Relationships Project helps schools to meet Erin’s Law requirements.

This training is free to attend and requires that attendees have the curricula on hand while participating. ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds can be used to purchase curricula. Should your organization wish to purchase a set that can be done here: https://www.pcavt.org/trainings-and-curricula.

Click here to learn more and register.

Healthy Relationships Activity Book

Stopping sexual violence and other forms of harm can feel like a complicated and overwhelming task. Education is an important form of sexual violence prevention. However, many students do not have access to comprehensive, accurate information regarding sexual education and healthy relationships. Such topics may also feel overwhelming, awkward, or complicated for parents and guardians to teach at home.

The Healthy Relationships Activity Book (HRAB) is intended to alleviate some of these barriers and assist parents and guardians in building knowledge, skills, and a deeper connection with your youth. The HRAB demonstrates how you and your youth can practice every day skills of primary prevention–how you can stop violence before it ever has the chance to occur.

Sexual Violence in Schools

Announcing NYSCASA’s First Cohort of Student Activists Against Sexual Assault

Students across New York State who have experienced sexual violence too often have needs that are left unmet. Campus climates and regulations governing student life can be a lot to learn for students outside the classroom.

NYSCASA is building supportive spaces for college students to discuss the complexity of sexual violence and how it affects student life. The goal is to establish sustainable, multi-level, community-specific approaches to address sexual violence on college campuses. The Student Activist Network Against Sexual Assault (SANASA) will develop a statewide network of strong student activists leading efforts to increase campus engagement in genuinely and meaningfully meeting students’ needs through networking and sharing resources.

Through the SANASA, student-led activist groups across New York State will receive training, peer support, and customized assistance during a two-year period. Together, we’ve already begun assessing the unique needs and resources on each campus. Students will also find commonalities and overarching issues amongst their peers across the state. The SANASA will address these issues as they emerge, ensuring that student voices are centered.

Student-led activist groups participating in the SANASA include:

  • New Paltz Accountability
  • University of Buffalo Sexual Violence Prevention
  • The Peer Support Team at St. John Fisher College

Each group meets monthly with NYSCASA and collectively for a discussion and resource-sharing session. The SANASA can support up to five student-led groups and we are actively seeking two more groups to join. If you are interested or know someone who may be, visit our website or contact E Bjorkman at ebjorkman@nyscasa.org to learn more.

Perspectives and News About Campus Sexual Violence

Sexual Violence in Prisons and Jails

NYS Senate Holds First-Ever Hearing on Sexual Violence in Prisons and Jails

Last month, the NYS Senate Standing Committee on Crime Victims, Crime and Correction and Senate Standing Committee on Ethics and Internal Governance held a joint public hearing on the impact of sexual assault in prisons and jails in New York State. The hearing marks the first time in recent memory that state lawmakers have expressed interest in exercising oversight on the issue. Survivors, advocates, activists, and lawyers provided oral and written testimony about the prevalence and impact of sexual violence against incarcerated people, including NYSCASA, the Crime Victims Treatment Center, and Sanctuary for Families.

Click here to access testimonies and the recording of the hearingClick here to read coverage of the hearing by Victoria Law for New York Focus.

Trauma and Mental Health

Safe Horizon Expert Debunks Myths About Sexual Abuse, Trauma, and Reporting

In a new video series, Safe Horizon’s Clinical Director, Sherri Papamihalis shares expert thoughts on why it takes time for survivors to share their trauma:

Join Safe Horizon for the upcoming Adult Survivors Act Advocacy Day on April 26! Register: bit.ly/PassTheASA

Self-Care Training Series for Frontline Workers

Coordinated Behavioral Care developed the COVID Self-Care Training Series to help address the unmet mental health needs of frontline workers. The overall theme of the trainings is professional self-care.

Through these trainings, agency staff will have the opportunity to master self-care skills, share experiences and process their fears, concerns and anxieties as they provide care during a pandemic.

Topics covered include:

  • Organizational methods to promote self-care
  • Coping with grief and loss
  • Processing trauma
  • Emotional health in times of uncertainty
  • Professional boundaries during a pandemic
  • Returning to in-person work
  • Preventing burnout and building resilience

Click here to access recordings from the training series.

Resource Spotlight

Trust Survivors: Building an Effective and Inclusive Cash Assistance Program

Trust Survivors, a report by FreeFrom, compiles data and stories from 1,000 survivors about how to make cash assistance work for them.

With survivors identifying cash as their #1 most urgent need to get and stay safe, direct assistance for survivors is among the most promising strategies to disrupt the cycle of gender-based violence.

As New York State’s victim assistance programs develop plans to support survivors’ housing needs using flex financial funding from the state, we recommend reviewing this report to learn about how to design a survivor-centered program that will meet survivors’ needs.

Shrouded in Silence — Police Sexual Violence: What We Know & What Can We Do About It

In the midst of a national reckoning around the violence of policing, and a national conversation about sexual assault prompted by #MeToo and the ‘me, too.’ movement launched by Tarana Burke, sexual violence by law enforcement officers remains shrouded in silence. Survivors of police sexual violence are rarely heard from or discussed in either conversation, and their experiences generally do not drive organizing and advocacy in either context.

This report, in conjunction with an accompanying curriculum for sexual assault service providers, is intended to contribute to breaking this silence, to summarize what we know about sexual violence by law enforcement officers, and to offer concrete steps toward prevention of police sexual violence and increased safety, support, and opportunities for healing for survivors. Click here to access the report.

Breaking the Silence: Supporting Survivors of Police Sexual Violence — A Curriculum for Sexual Assault Service Providers

This is a curriculum for sexual assault service providers intended to accompany Interrupting Criminalization’s report Shrouded in Silence — Police Sexual Violence: What We Know and What We Can Do About It. Facilitators and participants are strongly encouraged to review the report before using any of the exercises in this curriculum. Click here to access the curriculum.

For more information and a more detailed analysis of police sexual violence, see Andrea J. Ritchie’s book, Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color (excerpts available at invisiblenomorebook.com).

Job Opportunities

Are you looking for job opportunities in sexual violence prevention and survivor support services? Visit our website to learn about employment opportunities at NYSCASA member rape crisis programs and ally organizations.
Do you have job announcements that you would like NYSCASA to share on our communications channels? Please send job announcements to info@nyscasa.org with “Job Announcement” in the subject line.


Do you have announcements that you would like NYSCASA to share in our Monthly Digest? Email submissions with “Newsletter” in the subject line to info@nyscasa.org.

Stay Connected

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Support Our Work

Your support helps NYSCASA improve response to sexual assault survivors and strengthen prevention efforts across New York State. Click here to learn how to make a tax-deductible donation.