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Prairie Center Against Sexual Assault Faces Uncertain Future & Cuts Due To Budget Impasse

Rachel Otwell
Shelley Vaughan who heads the Prairie Center Against Sexual Assault

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Each year over 500 people in central Illinois who are victims of sexual violence are given counseling, legal and medical advice and support, and even clothing if needed, all at no charge to them. That’s through Springfield's Prairie Center Against Sexual Assault– in the state there are 28 other similar groups, all part of a state coalition.

The thing is, these groups are waiting for state funding from the current fiscal year which ends in June, and without it – they’ve been forced to make lay-offs and reign in services, like outreach in rural areas. The center in Springfield went from eight employees last summer - to now four. It now serves only two (Sangamon & Morgan) of the 11 counties it is meant to provide for. I visited the center in Springfield, and spoke with its head – Shelley Vaughan, about whether it might have to close, and what it provides for victims of rape and sexual assault:

Credit Rachel Otwell
Some of the shoes that will be worn at the event in Springfield Saturday

The ‘Walk A Mile In Her Shoes’ fundraising event for the Prairie Center Against Sexual Assault is this Saturday and registration is open now thru the day-of. Find more information on how to get involved, HERE.

Rachel Otwell of the Illinois Times is a former NPR Illinois reporter.
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