History of MNCASA and SVJI
Many rape crisis centers began in the late 1960s when women began to speak out about their experiences with sexual assault, and to support one another in healing. From victim blaming, to short sentences for heinous crimes, victims were outraged and wanted to see change. In 1971, a group of women, primarily volunteers, began a program in Minneapolis offering 24-hour crisis lines, support groups and a mechanism for victims, volunteers, communities to begin speaking out.
In 1975, the Minnesota Program for Victims of Sexual Assault in the Department of Corrections was created to fund and provide assistance to sexual assault programs statewide. As more programs started, many felt isolated, unsupported, and unable to take time away from working with victims to address the emerging statewide needs. In 1978, the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MNCASA) was born as a grassroots group of member programs sharing resources and support.
Over time MNCASA's membership grew and its work expanded to include educational opportunities, technical assistance to programs and systems, public education, public policy and media awareness. MNCASA incorporated in 1981, and continues its specialized focus on stopping sexual violence and improving how support programs and the criminal justice respond to it.
History of the Sexual Violence Justice Institute (SVJI)
SVJI is the result of a vision that grew out of the five-year Minnesota Model Protocol Project led by Victim Services of Dodge/Fillmore/Olmsted Community Corrections. That project tested a model process that community-based teams could use to create an interdisciplinary, victim-centered, and coordinated response to sexual assault. The results of an independent evaluation confirmed that centralized technical assistance, training, and facilitated communication between and among teams improved the efforts of individual teams. In 2001, SVJI was created to continue and expand that work.
Today MNCASA and SVJI strive to provide the state of the art service with consistency, expertise and professionalism. MNCASA and SVJI take pride in responding to emerging issues and trends, while maintaining an excellent level of service.