Funds to combat sexual assault increased due to rape survivor custody legislation

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Jayne Flores, Bureau of Women's Affairs director (PNC file photo)

Guam has received more than $70,000 in additional federal funds to combat violent
crimes against women over the next year, due to the passage and signing into law last year of the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act (RSCCA). The law makes the island eligible for a total of $280,000 in additional funding over the next four years.

“The total of additional funds for this year alone from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Violence Against Women (OVW) resulting from the passage and signing into law of the RSCCA is $72,542.00,” said Jayne Flores, Governor’s Community Outreach Federal Programs (GCOFPO) Administrator.

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Flores added that Guam is eligible for this amount for an additional three years, which equates to a total of over $280,000 in additional OVW funds over the next four years.

The additional funds have been added to the OVW Sexual Assault Service (SAS) formula grant, and the ServicesTrainingOfficers*Prosecutors (S.T.O.P.) Violence Against Women grant.

The SAS grant was created specifically to support the efforts of the rape crisis centers and other nonprofit, nongovernmental organizations that provide core services, direct intervention, and related assistance to victims of sexual assault. The S.T.O.P. grant supports community efforts to develop and strengthen effective law enforcement and prosecution strategies to combat violent crimes against women, and to develop and strengthen services for the victims of these crimes.

“This money will be used to provide more direct services such as counseling, interpreters, and transportation, to our victims of sexual assault and domestic violence; and to provide training to law enforcement officials who handle these cases,” said Flores.

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero signed the Guam Rape Survivor Child Custody Act (RSCCA) into law in June 2020.

“We want to thank Governor Leon Guerrero for signing this important piece of legislation into law. We also commend Senator Mary Torres for introducing the Guam RSCCA back in 2019,” said Flores.

“The RSCCA allows for the termination of parental rights of a parent who is found by clear and convincing evidence to have committed a sexual assault that resulted in the conception of the child. No criminal conviction is required, and the terminated parent is still responsible for providing child support for the child,” said Flores, adding that OVW has recommended that all states and territories adopt some form of this law, and provides additional funding for SASP and STOP programs as an incentive to do so.

Because Guam now has a RSCCA on its books, GCOFPO will this year receive $54,407.00
more in FY 2021 SAS funding, adding to the FY 2021 increased base allocation of $71,090.00, for a total FY 21 SAS award of $125,497.00.

Additionally, the S.T.O.P. Program, which for FY 2021 totals $687,445, will receive an additional $18,135.00 in RSCCA funding.

For inquiries or for more information about Guam’s OVW SAS and S.T.O.P. grants, contact the GCOFPO at (671) 475-9178/79 or email: gcofpo@guam.gov.

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