Cuomo commits $6.5 million in new funding against sexual assault


Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Fifty-five New York nonprofits, hospitals and government agencies will share almost $6.5 million in new funding to combat sexual assault across the state.

The surge in state investment in crisis and prevention programs will fund services for sexual assault victims, including counseling, advocacy and therapy. Three state agencies will disburse the money, which also includes funding for local crisis hotlines, community education, advocate training and sexual assault forensic examiners, according to a statement from the governor’s office.

“New York has resoundingly said enough is enough and we are putting our food down when it comes to sexual assault,” Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said in the statement.

The Office of Victim Services will oversee $2.8 million of the funding. The Division of Criminal Justice Service will administer $2.7 million and $1 million more comes from the state Department of Health.

Nonprofits across the state have experienced a surge in the volume of women calling hotlines to report sexual assault and harassment. A representative of Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York – which received $270,600 in new funding from New York state – told NBC affiliate WHEC last month that there has been a dramatic increase in calls to its RESTORE rape crisis hotline in Rochester. The Washington Post reported last month on a similar trend playing out nationwide.

Alanna Kaufmann, an attorney at Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady in New York City, told NYN Media in a phone interview that there has been a surge in women reaching out with stories of sexual assault in the workplace, including a high-profile case involving a security guard at JFK Airport who was allegedly forced to watch videos of supervisors receiving oral sex from colleagues.

“It’s everyone we have clients who have very high salaries and are high up at companies and we have women who are paid hourly,” she said. “We’ve absolutely seen a surge. It’s two-fold. I would say there is an increase in women that are coming to us generally and perhaps more significantly we’ve seen an increase in women willing to go public.” 

You can see the locations where the state funding is going on the interactive map below:

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