National Crime Victims' Rights Week
April 18-24 is National Crime Victims' Rights Week, a time focused on recognizing the rights of crime victims and raising awareness on ways to help victims.
Turning Point Domestic Violence Services in Columbus, Prevail Inc. in Hamilton County, and The Julian Center in Marion County are a few examples of central Indiana organizations helping victims of domestic violence. These organizations provide services ranging from shelter to counseling to legal services. One vital program Women's Fund has funded is the Grants to Encourage Arrests program, a partnership between Marion County law enforcement and The Julian Center. This program pairs an Outreach Advocate with a victim of domestic violence and is important to ensuring victims know their legal rights and can access services through comprehensive on-scene support provided by the advocate (see our blog post on this topic).
One story recently receiving national attention is that of Michelle Corrao, Director of Community Relations at Prevail. Corrao was awarded the Special Courage Award by US Attorney General Eric Holder and is the first Indiana resident to receive the award. A victim of a a violent crime, she has turned her tragic circumstances into a personal mission to help other victims and raise awareness. Through her work with Prevail the past seven years, she has been instrumental in working with the Prosecutor’s office to set up a Sexual Assault Response Team (SANE) in Hamilton County, among many other accomplishments.
Thanks to courageous women such as Corrao and important programs like Grants to Encourage Arrests, domestic violence victims can access help with professionals who are attuned to their needs and challenges. It is important not only to provide these services to victims but to stop violence before it starts. With preventative measures such as Heather's Law recently signed in Indiana, we are making positive strides. However, there is much more to be done, which is why Women's Fund is currently focused on domestic violence through our grantmaking. And, we hope others will join us in this effort.