History of the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault
Many rape crisis centers began in the late 1960s when women began to speak out about their experiences with sexual assault and support one another in healing. From victim blaming to short sentences for heinous crimes, victims/survivors 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/survivors, volunteers, and communities to speak 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/survivors to address emerging statewide needs. In 1978, the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault was born as a grassroots group of member programs sharing resources and support.
Over time, MNCASA’s membership grew and our work expanded to include educational opportunities, providing technical assistance to programs and systems, public education, public policy, and media awareness. MNCASA incorporated in 1982, and continues its specialized focus on preventing sexual violence, and improving how advocacy programs, systems, and communities respond to it.
History of the Sexual Violence Justice Institute
The Sexual Violence Justice Institute at the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault grew out of vision from the five-year Minnesota Model Protocol Project led by Victim Services of Dodge/Fillmore/Olmsted Community Corrections, a project that tested a process that community-based teams could use to create an interdisciplinary, victim-centered, and coordinated response to sexual assault. 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.