AG Zoeller: New organization replaces INCASA to prevent sexual assault, serve Indiana victims
Original article can be found at city-countyobserver.com.
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced today the creation of the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault & Human Trafficking, Inc., or ICESAHT, as the new organization to focus on ending sexual assault and serving victims in the State of Indiana.
In June 2014, financial insolvency forced a previous organization, the Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Inc. (INCASA), to suspend operations. As a result, the nonprofit stopped receiving and distributing federal and state grants that funded sexual assault support programs in Indiana.
“This new entity’s mission is to educate and prevent instances of sexual assault and to ensure Indiana has a strong support network for victims of sexual assault and similar crimes,” Zoeller said. “It is vitally important that ICESAHT quickly step in and further the goals of INCASA while connecting the various sexual assault support providers across the state, providing access to funding sources and empowering victims to break the cycle of sexual violence.”
Under its statutory authority to intervene on behalf of the public interest in charitable organizations, the Indiana Attorney General’s Office took legal action in November 2014 seeking a court-appointed receiver to take control of INCASA and assess whether it could be reformed. Granting Zoeller’s motion, the Marion County Superior Court froze INCASA’s assets and appointed Deborah J. Daniels as receiver. Daniels is a former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana and former Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs in the U.S. Department of Justice where she managed the research and grant-making agencies of the department.
As court-appointed receiver, Daniels investigated the extent of INCASA’s financial problems and whether it could be revived. Daniels found a need for a strong focus on sexual assault-related problems such as human trafficking, sexual violence against children and rape on college campuses, as well as a need to increase training for established victim service providers and assist in the development of full-scale victim services in underserved areas across Indiana.
After months of analysis and deliberation with stakeholders across the state, and in consultation with advisors as allowed by the Court, Daniels concluded that INCASA cannot survive its financial predicament. In considering the most effective way to continue the mission of INCASA, Daniels concluded that the State of Indiana would be best served by creating a separate, freestanding new entity with a singular focus on ending sexual assault and dedicated to supporting service providers and victim recovery programs in Indiana.
“I am gratified that the Attorney General and the Court entrusted me with this mission, so critical to the lives of many thousands of victims and those who support them,” Daniels said. “Given the complex nature and dynamic of sexual assault and the many permutations of sexual victimization prevalent today, it is my considered opinion that a coalition with a specific focus on sexual victimization offers Hoosiers the best opportunity to combat the serious and often life-threatening impact of sexual assault in its many forms.”
ICESAHT’s mission is to empower Indiana communities to end sexual assault and serve those impacted by it, through comprehensive training, advocacy, increased public awareness and coordinated sexual assault services. The ICESAHT organization is structured in such a way to avoid the pitfalls encountered by the old INCASA.
Several prominent community leaders will serve as board members of the new nonprofit organization, including Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Jerome Adams, Borshoff Founder Myra Borshoff, Marion County Health Department Director Dr. Virginia Caine, Prevail Deputy Director Michelle Corrao, Assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana Kristina Korobov, Attorney General’s Victims Services and Outreach Division Chief Counsel Abigail Kuzma, United Way of Central Indiana Chief Financial Officer Gina Miller, Pacers Vice President and General Counsel Frank Pulice, and Fox59 News Anchor Fanchon Stinger. Indiana House Representative Christina Hale and Attorney General Zoeller will serve as non-voting members.
“Sexual violence affects thousands of Indiana women and men each year,” said Indiana State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H. “As health commissioner, I am committed to improving both the physical and emotional well-being of all Hoosiers. ICESAHT’s work to help those affected by sexual violence is an important step toward achieving that goal.”
Under the direction of Tracey Horth Krueger as Interim Executive Director, ICESAHT will immediately step in to fill former INCASA’s role in Indiana. Krueger has more than 20 years of experience assisting nonprofits in the areas of domestic and sexual violence. She built the Domestic Violence Network from a grassroots group to a fully staffed, professional organization with the mission of ending domestic violence through advocacy, education and collaboration. Krueger was also involved in opening Coburn Place, a transitional housing program for victims of intimate partner violence and currently serves as Board of Directors Chair.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to work with dedicated sexual assault service providers throughout the state to build a strong and re-energized coalition,” Krueger said. “The coalition will focus on not only ensuring that victims have all the services they need, but will also work on raising awareness and developing prevention programs to reduce the incidences of sexual assault.”
ICESAHT will engage in a robust effort to raise private funds and seek financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Justice and other sources. The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute is lending its support by funding the immediate priorities of the new organization and by agreeing to consider a grant proposal in December 2015.
The Attorney General’s Office has long worked to assist programs protecting victims of all forms of sexual assault and domestic violence.
Zoeller created the Victims Services and Outreach Division this year to focus support on victims of violent sexual crimes. It administers programs to protect domestic violence victims through address confidentiality and access to a “Hope Card,” evidence of a protective order that can be easily carried by victims of violence. The Victims Services and Outreach Division also operates the Victim Advocates Network to connect and provide resources to those who serve victims in Indiana.
Zoeller also serves as co-chair of the Indiana Protection for Abuse and Trafficking Humans (IPATH) Task Force that works to combat human trafficking in Indiana and promotes the Indiana’s Not Buying Campaign to refute myths about the commercial sex industry. Several ICESAHT board members serve on IPATH as well.
More information about these efforts is available at www.in.gov/attorneygeneral under the “Victim Services” tab.