Millions in grant funding awarded to enhance victim services

The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI) announced that more than $2 million in grant funding has been awarded to 20 organizations across the state to support sexual assault victims. The funding was provided through two programs administered by the agency: the Sexual Assault Victim Assistance Fund (SAVAF) and the Sexual Assault Services Project (SASP).

“This funding is about making sure that survivors of sexual assault have meaningful access to services,” said Devon McDonald, ICJI Executive Director. “These grants will broaden Indiana’s support network and provide critical resources to those who need it the most.”

Established in 2016 by the Indiana General Assembly, the purpose of the SAVAF program is to provide a comprehensive statewide response to support victims of sexual assault. Funding, which primarily comes from the fees collected from sexual assault-related crimes, can be used to establish and maintain rape crisis centers, and provide services that work to address the physical, psychological and emotional needs of victims, known as trauma-informed services.

This year, a total of $1.6 million was awarded to 11 organizations through the program – a 50 percent increase from 2021. Some of the projects funded this grant cycle will help to provide safe shelter, counseling, crisis lines, advocacy support, referrals and prevention services.

“Many of the organizations we’re funding this year go beyond providing direct support,” said Kim Lambert, ICJI Victim Services Division Director. “They will be engaging the community and implementing a wide array of prevention strategies to address sexual assault.”

Federally funded, the SASP program provides direct intervention and related assistance to victims of sexual assault and their families. Funds are made available to rape crisis centers and nonprofits through the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women.

For this grant cycle, just under $500,000 was awarded to nine organizations. Similar to SAVAF, these funds will be used to expand sexual assault programming and advocacy services in the state.