April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

United States Attorney Robert E. O’Neill announced to Historic City News that the Department of Justice has designated the entire month of April 2011 as “Sexual Assault Awareness Month”.

On a national level, nearly 19 million women and 3 million men have experienced at least one incident of sexual assault.

In 2009, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement reported 10,227 forcible sex offenses and 2,877 arrests.

According to national researchers, approximately one out of every nine adult women in Florida has been the victim of forcible rape, which equates to over 700,000 women in Florida.

Many victims fear disgrace if they tell family and friends about the abuse, and suffer alone.

Victims of sexual assault who do not receive recovery services face serious risks to their health and well-being.

Sexual assault remains one of the most under reported crimes in America.

Help is available through local sexual assault centers and, in a crisis situation,through RAINN’s (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) national routing number 1-800-656-HOPE (4673), which will automatically connect the caller to the nearest participating local rape crisis center.

For additional information and resources on sexual violence, visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center at http://www.nsvrc.org.

For additional information on domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking, visit the Office on Violence against Women at http://www.ovw.usdoj.gov.

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, a time to honor victims and the advocates of victims’ rights, also occurs in April, beginning on Sunday, April 10, 2011.

This year’s theme is Reshaping the Future, Honoring the Past.

For victims, reshaping the future can be accomplished through a variety of means, including counseling, financial assistance to bury a loved one or pay medical bills, participating in the criminal justice process, or being awarded restitution.

For victim advocates trying to reshape the future, in these trying economic times, it means working more closely and creatively with other victim service providers.

Honoring the past means recognizing the great strides made in establishing victims’ rights at all levels – local, state and federal.

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week will begin in Washington, D.C., at the Department of Justice’s annual national Candlelight Observance Ceremony on April 7, 2011.

For additional information about victims’ rights, visit the Office of Victims of Crime website at http://www.ovc.gov.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida is committed to ensuring that victims of federal crime receive the support and assistance they need and deserve.

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