King County Sexual Assault Resource Center Programs
KCSARC provides direct services to victims to help them achieve the most successful recovery possible. Services include: our 24-hour Resource Line where trained staff provide crisis information, information and referrals to victims, their family and friends; Legal and Medical Advocacy to help navigate the legal and medical system by providing support, information and resources; and Individual and group therapy utilizing trauma-focused, evidence-based practices.
As over half of the victims KCSARC serves are children and teens, extensive work is done with non-offending parents/guardians to help children heal and prevent future sexual abuse. Child victims often have extreme shifts in their behavior and attitudes, which can be challenging for their families. KCSARC works very closely with the child’s family and non-offending parent to assure a holistic approach to healing.
Vital to KCSARC’s vision of ending the silence around sexual assault, community education and prevention efforts are a key focus. One study suggests that 89% of women who were sexually abused as children have children who become victims of sexual abuse as well. By investing in education, we have the opportunity to break a cycle that impacts thousands of families in our community.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
As a front-line organization helping people who have been victims of sexual assault, KCSARC recognized the strong connection between sexual violence, youth homelessness, and trauma-related mental health issues. With Seattle-King County having one of the largest homeless youth populations in the U.S., KCSARC committed to finding a way to address these important linkages that both cause and perpetuate youth homelessness. Debilitating trauma symptoms caused by sexual assault often prevent homeless youth from taking necessary steps to leave the streets.
Undeterred from traditional thinking that therapy to address trauma symptoms can only be successful if individuals are in a stable environment, KCSARC developed The Phoenix Project to address trauma-related symptoms of youth who are homeless. KCSARC approached YouthCare, one of the foremost homeless youth agencies in the state, to partner on this project.
Since the program launched in fall 2010, the metrics of success have been compelling: the vast majority of youth learn to cope with their trauma symptoms, thus freeing them to address other aspects of their lives, such as housing, school and job training. Over 90% of exiting youth have improved their housing situations, 57% have obtained permanent, safe housing, and 86% of the youth enrolled in school, a GED program, or job training program or obtained a job.
Nationally, the incidence of child sexual abuse has declined by 38% over the last fifteen years, but we still have much work to do. In some areas, caseloads and demand have increased markedly over the same time period. We still turn away 6 clients for every 1 client we take into therapy, and our legal advocacy case load has increased by 10%. Funding cuts have a significant impact on our ability to assist victims of sexual assault.