Sweeney Emphasizes Continued Fight Against Sexual Assault
Urges New Members of the Legislature to Utilize Services Offered by the NJCASA
TRENTON – During the Virtual Town Hall hosted by the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault today, Senate President Steve Sweeney emphasized the importance of a continued fight against sexual assault and praised the efforts of individuals and organizations who are acting to prevent the abuses and ensure that its survivors are respected and helped. Senator Sweeney praised the work of the NJCASA, highlighting the organization’s array of services, such as training and advocacy, to organizations which assist survivors of sexual violence.
“Sexual assaults are despicable crimes that too often in the past occurred in the shadows, leaving its survivors scarred emotionally, psychologically and physically,” said Senator Sweeney. “Social norms were unfair to its survivors and the legal system often victimized them again. Our fight against these terrible crimes is far from over and I remain committed to passing legislation that further protects survivors of sexual assault.”
Throughout the years, the NJCASA has assisted in promoting compassionate treatment of survivors and their loved ones. Working alongside Senator Sweeney, the NJCASA helped bring attention to sexual assault on college campuses with the Task Force on Campus Sexual Assault, provided critical testimony about sexual abuse at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility, and helped get $2.2 million added to last year’s state budget for more statewide domestic violence protection and prevention programs.
More recently, the NJCASA advocated for the passage of legislation, S-414, which prevents schools from hiring teachers with a history of sexual abuse. The bill was signed into law last week.
“Without question, the NJCASA has been such a great partner to me and to the Legislature as a whole,” said Senator Sweeney. “Their expertise in this subject area has helped craft legislation to protect our most vulnerable, they provide services to constituents in need, and they’re outspoken advocates for survivors of sexual assault.”
Senator Sweeney stressed the need to pass legislation that will establish the Sexual Assault Victims’ Bill of Rights. “Survivors of sexual assault must be provided the legal, medical, and psychological resources they need,” said Senator Sweeney.”
“I cannot thank Senator Sweeney enough for his dedication and willingness to do what is necessary to assist those who are in dire need,” said Patricia Teffenhart, Executive Director of the NJCASA. “In order to end this vicious cycle of sexual violence in our society, we must continue to bring attention and resources to organizations that help survivors of sexual assault.”
Senator Sweeney also urged newly sworn-in legislators on the conference call to use the NJCASA as a resource when discussing or researching sexual assault.
“I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished together, and I’m optimistic about what we have yet to achieve,” said Senator Sweeney. “I’m going to continue to use the NJCASA as a resource and I urge all of you to do the same.”
The NJCASA is the statewide advocacy and capacity building organization that represents the 21 county-based rape crisis centers and the Rutgers University Office of Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance.