Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CCASA)
More than 1 million Coloradans have been sexually assaulted, according to the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CCASA). But CCASA believes that there are millions more people who can come together to make a difference. According to their website, CCASA “is a membership organization promoting safety, justice, and healing for survivors while working toward the elimination of sexual violence.” Their goal is to show support to survivors, strive to hold perpetrators accountable and to take positive action to create an end to sexual violence. Their services and efforts are extensive and in this post we will share with you a bit about what they are doing to make a difference, how you can get involved and how to get immediate help for sexual assault victims.
What kinds of things is CCASA doing to make a difference?
The CCASA website states,
“We believe that every survivor of sexual violence deserves to be believed, supported, and experience healing. The effects reach even further—to families, to friends, to co-workers, to neighbors…to all of us. This is a community issue that requires a community solution.”
CCASA stands by the fact that sexual violence is a significant issue that influences the lives of millions of people. Their goal is to provide services, support and advocacy to truly create positive change. 2014 was the organization’s 30th year of helping sexual assault survivors and they continue to make a difference in a variety of ways.
Policy Successes: Since CCASA was established in 1984, one of their priorities has been to make progress on the public policy front of sexual violence. The organization’s efforts include drafting, reviewing and lobbying for legislation and polices that demand improvement. CCASA was instrumental in the success of the following legislation:
- “Eliminating the criminal statute of limitations for child sex abuse.”
- “Criminalizing marital rape.”
- “Instituting lifetime supervision for sex offenders and creating the sex offender registry.”
- “Clarifying mandatory reporting laws to ensure confidentiality for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse.”
- “Creating the Sexual Assault Victim Emergency (SAVE) Payment Program.”
*You can read the full list of legislation here.
Comprehensive Training & Resources: The CCASA 2013 Annual Report provided a closer look at all of the accomplishments they have had recently. Through their Training and Technical Assistance Program they provided training to more than 2,000 CCASA members and other sexual assault service providers/responders in Colorado. Their goal with these efforts was to help provide consistent, comprehensive and victim-centered responses to sexual assault statewide. They also held collaborative regional trainings throughout Colorado. These seminars focused on strengthening civilian/ military partnerships and improving services for incarcerated survivors of sexual abuse. In their effort to raise awareness they published and distributed nearly 4,000 brochures and handbooks regarding sexual assault and CCASA services and resources.
The resources the organization provides are vital to making a real difference in the lives of survivors. We asked Brie Akins, an Executive Director at CCASA, about the most used resources on the CCASA website, and she shared, “I would say that our blog is our most used resource with the survivor handbook being a close second.”
How can I get involved?
CCASA offers many ways to get involved, ranging from simply signing up for the organization’s emails, to attending an event, and officially becoming a member. Since this is a membership-based organization, the support received from members is vital to the progress made.
Here is a look at the two membership options:
Individual Membership: Individual members interested in helping with the statewide efforts and who desire access to general member benefits are welcome to join. Individual members have access to a limited number of CCASA publications and are invited to serve on committees and to speak at the state level on behalf of the organization.
Agency Membership: This membership level is ideal for agencies or an office/department within an agency that would like access to CCASA resources and services for their staff, volunteers and clients. This membership gives them access to bulk bundles of CCASA publications and admission to CCASA events at a discounted cost. Of course, members are encouraged to participate on committees and speak at the state level.
As a member, you can be involved with any of the following committees:
- Public Policy Committee: “Participants are needed to share feedback on how pending legislation may potentially impact Victims/Survivors and Service Providers in our state.” Visit the Public Policy webpage.
- CCASA Blog Committee: “The CCASA Blog Committee is comprised of CCASA members who oversee the CCASA blog posts, outreach, and branding. The purpose of the CCASA Blog is to create a conversation among members, partners and the general public about issues related to sexual violence prevention.” Check out the CCASA Blog!
- Sexual Assault Awareness Month Committee: “This committee creates and implements a statewide SAAM theme, messaging, events, and other materials for distribution to CCASA membership.”
- Inclusive Team: This group “works to enhance the organization’s core value of anti-oppression and social justice which states: CCASA recognizes that sexual assault and oppression are intricately linked and is committed to grappling with the complexities of societal power and privilege in order to create inclusive policies and practices.”
- Fundraising and Events Committee: This group’s primary goal is to “raise funds and plan events to broaden support for CCASA in the community.”
Help for Sexual Assault Victims:
We asked Akins about the one thing she wants people to know when it comes to sexual assault. She said,
“Help is available. If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence, don’t suffer silently – get help now.”
CCASA makes a valiant effort to raise awareness about the help they offer and to ensure that those in need get the help they are looking for. The Get Help page discusses the first steps of getting help, the victims’ options and also an interactive map that provides information on rape crisis resources and support organizations within Colorado. In addition, you can read articles published by CCASA or access their library of information on the Research and Articles page within their website. The Tools for Healing page “is meant to give survivors of sexual assault and their family and friends new resources for hope, healing and happiness.”
Moms Fight Back is proud of all that CCASA is doing to create freedom from sexual violence in Colorado communities. They offer so many more services and resources than we could possibly cover in this post. Visit their website for more information and feel free to contact them directly