For 30 years, the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence (FCASV) has provided vital support to the state’s certified sexual assault programs and advocated for the rights of victims.
Initially established in 1986 as the Florida Council of Sexual Abuse Services, FCASV has since been an integral part of various initiatives in the fight against sexual violence. Beginning with a 2002 initiative to amend Florida’s victims’ rights statute and extend sexual assault counselor-victim privilege to trained volunteers working for rape crisis centers, some of FCASV’s successful policy initiatives have included:
- The Sexual Battery Victims Recovery Act, establishing the Rape Crisis Program Trust Fund and a mechanism for distributing funds collected to certified rape crisis programs
- Ensuring rape victims’ access to forensic medical exams, regardless of reporting status
- Prompt HIV testing of an offender against whom charges have been filed
- Relocation assistance for sexual assault survivors from the Victim Compensation Fund
- Inclusion of clear and convincing evidence that a child was conceived as the result of sexual battery as grounds for termination of the offender’s parental rights
- Timely sexual assault kit testing so Florida will never again experience a backlog of untested kits
“One of our main goals at FCASV is to listen to and support survivors in concrete ways. Our work to improve Florida’s response to survivors is guided by survivors’ experiences with first responders; the criminal justice, education, child welfare, and legal systems; and rape crisis programs. During the last fifteen years, in particular, Florida has demonstrated its commitment to justice and survivor recovery in significant ways,” said Jennifer Dritt, FCASV Executive Director. “While steady funding for trauma-informed recovery services; access to forensic exams conducted by trained professionals; relocation assistance; and timely testing of collected evidence are victories we gladly celebrate, our work continues. FCASV’s ongoing projects demonstrate our commitment to improving the lives of survivors through collaboration and system change.”
FCASV is currently furthering its mission through initiatives such as the Excellence in Sexual Assault Response (ESAR) project and the Legal Assistance for Victims (LAV) project. In partnership with law enforcement agencies in Dixie, Alachua, Charlotte, and Pinellas counties, the ESAR project trains dispatch, patrol, investigative, and command staff in trauma-informed survivor response and sexual battery investigations. In collaboration with Legal Services of North Florida; Lakeview Center in Pensacola; the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay; Suncoast Center; and Sunrise of Pasco County, the LAV project provides representation for survivors in a broad range of legal matters.
To learn more about what FCASV is doing on behalf of Florida’s survivors, visit fcasv.org.
Below are photos from FCASV's 30th anniversary celebration hosted November 3.