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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Rob Ortt
ALBANY — State Sen. Rob Ortt was joined by three other Republican State Senators today in announcing an additional $4.6 million in funding from the 2015-2016 state budget to help victims of rape and sexual violence.

Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, was supported by Catharine Young, R-Olean; Rich Funke, R-Fairport; and Thomas Croci, R-Sayville. The four led a bipartisan group of members from the Republican and Independent Democratic Conferences in efforts to secure a total of nearly $6.5 million in state funding for rape crisis services for victims and programs that prevent sexual assault.

Ortt, Chairman of the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee, said, “Sexual assault acts are horrific crimes that take significant mental, physical, and emotional tolls on the victims. In the immediate aftermath of such trauma, rape crisis centers offer immediate help to those at their most vulnerable. This funding will ensure that these critical services will continue."

Rape crisis centers provide victims and survivors of sexual assault with access to a multidisciplinary team of experts who serve as advocates that can offer crisis intervention, counseling, and the options of forensic evidence collection and police reports. Victims and survivors have reported that when a rape crisis advocate is present, they experience less distress from contact with the police and medical personnel, as well as fewer psychological and physical health issues.

In February, 14 Senators wrote to Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos to request a restoration of proposed budget cuts and a substantial increase in funding to rape crisis services and sexual violence prevention programs. The Executive budget had proposed $1.88 million for the state's Office of Victim Services rape crisis program.

The enacted budget reflected the Senators’ efforts by including $4.6 million on top of the Executive proposal to increase access to critical services for vulnerable victims in more New York communities.

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