Mission & Work
Our vision is Maryland will be a state free of sexual violence.
Our mission is to help prevent sexual assault, advocate for accessible, compassionate care for survivors of sexual violence, and work to hold offenders accountable.
The Maryland Network Against Rape was renamed the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Inc. (MCASA) in 1982. The organization grew out of a widespread desire to better address the needs of women across the state. Originally formed by the 13 rape crisis and recovery centers that existed at that time, the MCASA Board of Directors was made up of representatives from each local program and an elected president.
Today, the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MCASA) is the federally recognized state sexual assault coalition. Its core members are the state’s 17 rape crisis and recovery centers, but it also represents the voices of many other professionals and service providers working with sexual assault survivors. MCASA provides policy advocacy, technical assistance, training, outreach, and prevention. MCASA’s Sexual Assault Legal Institute (SALI) provides direct legal services for victims and survivors of sexual violence. SALI also provides technical assistance and training for attorneys, rape crisis and recovery center staff and volunteers, and other professionals working with survivors. The Board has been diversified to include representatives from a variety of disciplines and jurisdictions.
Public Policy Activities
- Monitoring public policy and encouraging a “victim-centered” approach.
- Promoting justice for survivors and accountability for offenders through legislative advocacy.
- Promoting public awareness of sexual violence issues and rape crisis and recovery center services.
- Providing training for professionals such as counselors, advocates, medical personnel, law enforcement, and court personnel.
- Sponsoring statewide conferences.
Community Outreach and Technical Assistance Activities
- Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) Coordination: Linking specially trained healthcare providers to promote consistency and high standards in evidence collection and treatment across the state.
- College Consortium Project: Assisting colleges and universities across Maryland in the establishment of sexual violence task forces on campus.
- Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) Initiative: Creating multi-disciplinary inter-agency teams to offer comprehensive, sensitive and coordinated interventions for sexual violence survivors.
- Women of Color Network: Promoting education, advocacy and leadership in communities of color in order to improve service delivery to victims.
- We also provide technical assistance to professionals and serve as a clearinghouse for information on sexual violence related issues, in addition to providing the following resources:
- Statewide Sexual Assault Information and Referral help line 1-800-983-RAPE
- MCASA’s quarterly newsletter, Frontline, Sexual Assault Brochures, Manuals, Directories and other literature
- Resource Library
The Sexual Assault Legal Institute (SALI) is a program of MCASA that provides direct legal services for victims and survivors of sexual violence. SALI also provides technical assistance and training for attorneys, rape crisis and recovery center staff and volunteers, and other professionals working with survivors.
For more information, contact SALI at 301-565-2277, or toll-free at 877-496-SALI.
Some of MCASA’s Significant Accomplishments include:
- Launched the Speak up. Speak out. sexual violence prevention campaign statewide in partnership with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Learn more by visiting www.speakup-speakout.org.
- Since 1993, provided testimony and other support in the passage of more than 50 significant pieces of legislation
- Launched the Sexual Assault Legal Institute (SALI), the first ever of its kind in the state of Maryland, which has served more than 1,000 clients since its inception
- Launched the Maryland Women of Color Network to focus on issues impacting undeserved and diverse populations
- Formalized program to support the state’s Sexual Assault Response Teams and Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner programs
- Held more than 100 trainings and conferences to support Maryland professionals including law enforcement, legal professionals, advocates, social workers, forensic nurses and more
- Launched state-wide advocate training to standardize service delivery by victim advocates to survivors of sexual assault
- Developed resources and manuals including the SALI Law Manual, the Identifying Legal Issues for Victims of Sexual Assault: A Checklist for Survivors, First Response to Sexual Assault: A Guide for Law Enforcement, and Ensuring Forensic Medical Exams for All Sexual Assault Victims
- Provided technical assistance to thousands of professionals, survivors and members of the general public
- Distributed thousands of pieces of literature statewide