Grant Award Press Release

Victim Rights Center of Connecticut Awarded $352,533 Grant for Legal Assistance to Victims of Crime

           Senator Richard Blumenthal and Senator Chris Murphy announced today that a federal grant from the Office of Violence Against Women has been awarded to Victim Rights Center of Connecticut and its grant partners: Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence (formerly CONNSACS), New Britain YWCA Sexual Assault Crisis Services, and Women and Families Center. The $352,533 two-year grant will primarily support victim-centered, holistic legal representation of victims of sexual assault and victims of violence against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community.

Victim Rights Center of Connecticut (VRCCT) is the only non-profit in the state, and one of a handful nationwide, providing victim-centered, comprehensive legal services to victims of sexual assault, child abuse, violence against persons who identify as lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or transgender, elder abuse and homicide. VRCCT helps survivors of crime to navigate the criminal court system, but also assists with civil legal problems that often follow criminal victimization, including issues with housing, employment, education, immigration, child custody, medical needs, compensation and restitution.

“This generous grant will allow us to expand our legal services to survivors of crime, many of whom have nowhere else to turn with legal problems they face through no fault of their own,” said VRCCT executive director James Clark. “The support of Senators Blumenthal and Murphy, and of our Congressional delegation, is invaluable in sustaining VRCCT’s ability to help victims of violent crime.”

Senator Blumenthal said:

“I have seen firsthand the devastating toll that sexual assault, abuse and biased based violence takes on far too many victims across our state and nation,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn). “After suffering the physical and emotional toll of the attack, these victims encounter complicated court process in pursuit of justice.  The Victim Rights Center and its partners are well-respected, ardent advocates for victims,” he continued. “This VAWA funding will help them expand their critical, life-saving work.   I applaud this crucial funding, and thank the Victim Rights Center and advocates across Connecticut who, despite limited resources, continue to respond every day to those in need.”

“When a crime happens, the victim is often forgotten, which is why I’m so glad that I was able to help secure new funding for the Victim Rights Center of Connecticut. Their continued service to Connecticut residents is truly admirable,” said U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). “With this award, the Center will be able to more than double their capacity and help more people find the justice and peace they deserve. I was honored to help connect the Victim Rights Center to this funding.”

The mission of the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), a component of the U.S. Department of Justice, is to provide federal leadership in developing the national capacity to reduce violence against women and administer justice for and strengthen services to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

Victim Rights Center established close working relationships with several member centers of the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence immediately after it was founded in 2013 by former prosecutor James Clark. The OVW grant formalizes the existing collaboration between VRCCT and the Alliance, and allows VRCCT to benefit even more from the Alliance’s long history of victim service, community involvement, and public education.  “The advocates and counsellors from the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence provide the most important support for victims of sexual violence,” Clark stated. “Legal services are an important additional service that many victims need, but our work cannot succeed without close collaboration between advocates and lawyers. We certainly would never have secured this grant without the support of our partners in the Alliance.”

“Victims of sexual violence have unique civil legal needs that often go unmet,” said Laura Cordes, Executive Director of Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence. “This grant and partnership with VRCCT will allow us to further develop a much needed collaboration between sexual assault victim advocates and a growing number of attorneys who are committed to providing sexual violence survivors with the support and legal representation they deserve.”

Clark stressed that his non-profit cannot rely solely on government support. “This generous OVW grant is crucial to the survival of Victim Rights Center as a very young organization,” he emphasized, “but if we are to expand our services to the entire Connecticut community, we will need support from individual citizens, engaged business partners, and charitable foundations.”  VRCCT currently serves clients in Hartford, New Haven, Middlesex and Eastern Fairfield counties.

Victim Rights Center of Connecticut is located in donated offices in Wallingford, CT. More information is available at www.vrcct.org.

Questions? Call James Clark at 203-350-3515, or 203-988-3196 (mobile)