Senator: Funds will help victims of rape and sexual and domestic violence
State Sen. Rob Ortt today announced he succeeded in securing a total of $54,000 in state funding to help victims of domestic violence, sexual violence and rape throughout Niagara County. The money will go toward various services and programs offered through the YWCA of the Niagara Frontier in Lockport and North Tonawanda.
Of the dedicated funds, $29,000 will be set aside for rape crisis services to assist victims of sexual assault and strengthen prevention efforts. The additional $25,000 will be used for the organization's domestic violence services and programs.
Ortt, chairman of the mental health and developmental disabilities committee, said, "Domestic violence and sexual assault does not discriminate. It can happen to anyone of any age, gender or race, and often leaves the victim with mental, physical and emotional scars. This dedicated community organization providing vital services is struggling financially, and this funding will help make sure victims will have the help they need. Ultimately, this money will further the YWCA's outreach, help to protect our most vulnerable citizens, and help to put an end to violence in the home and community."
The YWCA of the Niagara Frontier provides several programs and services for rape or sexual assault and domestic violence victims, including adult and children counseling, shelter, educational support groups, legal advocacy and a 24/7 crisis hotline.
The YWCA says it averages about 960 hotline calls every year for domestic violence. On average, the organization houses about 128 domestic violence victims annually, and services an estimated 740 non-residential domestic violence victims in one year. In addition, the YWCA responds to an average of 60-70 sexual assault cases per year.
YWCA of the Niagara Frontier CEO Kathleen Granchelli said, "We truly provide life-saving services for some of the most fragile members of our community. Many of our domestic violence victims live in terror every single day of their lives after a traumatic experience in their home. Our services help empower women and get them back on their feet.
"We can't thank Sen. Ortt enough for coming to the YWCA's rescue, so that we can essentially continue saving lives."
The YWCA of the Niagara Frontier is the only rape crises center in Niagara County certified by the New York State Department of Health, providing victims and survivors of sexual assault with free counseling, 24/7 crisis intervention, hospital accompaniment and court advocacy services.