Riverview Center received notification that they have received a federal grant for $700,000 to enhance the services they provide in rural communities across their service area, which covers all of the KMCH listening area.
The grant will be used to provide crisis and long term support services for survivors of sexual violence in rural areas of 14 counties in northeast Iowa, and for survivors of sexual and domestic violence in two rural counties in northwest Illinois.
“Given 13 of the 16 counties in our service area are 100% rural, and significant parts of the other three counties are rural as well, this funding will create boundless opportunities for our team of advocates to connect with and empower more survivors to thrive beyond their trauma,” stated Gwen Bramlet-Hecker, executive director of Riverview Center.
Bramlet-Hecker explained the leadership team at Riverview Center was particularly moved to seek out funds that would enhance their work specifically in rural parts of their service area when they learned that, according to the FBI Bureau of Justice Statistics National Crime Victim Survey, between 1995 and 2015 only 2% of sexual assault and rape victimizations are reported to the police in rural areas.
Survivors in rural communities often face unique barriers when seeking healing and justice after experiencing domestic and/or sexual violence,” Bramlet-Hecker added. “This grant will allow us to expand work we are already doing in rural Iowa and Illinois, collaborating with community partners in supporting survivors in areas that are too often under-resourced.”
The funding provided through the three-year grant will allow Riverview Center to add two additional positions to their staff, including an advocate that will provide services exclusively in rural communities, and a Rural Services Coordinator. The Coordinator will work with all direct service staff serving survivors living in rural areas to ensure the services provided are trauma-informed in ways that reflect the uniqueness of systems within rural cities and towns.
Riverview Center’s trauma informed and survivor-centered services include 24/7/365 crisis response to hospitals or law enforcement agencies; medical, legal, and general advocacy; therapy and counseling; and violence prevention school-based and community education. All services are 100% free of charge and 100% confidential, and are available to anyone regardless of biological sex, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, immigration status, English proficiency, race and/or ethnicity, incarceration status, disability or background. The organization provides safe, affirming, and empowering spaces in which survivors can thrive beyond their trauma.