Funding comes through to help sex abuse victims
By Lauren Handley
We Are Central PA
March 16, 2016
Support services are getting the money they need to help the increasing number of victims of child sexual abuse in the Altoona- Johnstown Catholic Diocese.
Wednesday the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency announced $250,000 in federal funding will be available for support services
PCCD Chairman Josh Shapiro, Attorney General Kathleen Kane, Cambria County District Attorney Kelly Callihan, and State Victim Advocate Jennifer Storm stood before victim service organizations, ensuring them victims will get the help they need.
The funding will be dispersed on an as-needed basis, but this is not the only money victim service organizations can receive. The $250,000 comes in addition to the federal VOCA dollars from the PCCD that are dispersed annually. On top of that, there is still money coming through the endowment fund from the Penn State Settlement as a result of the Sandusky case.
Officials are still fighting to pass legislation to eliminate the statute of limitations. They demanded change and said the victims deserve justice.
"We encourage you to talk, to speak up," State Victim Advocate Jennifer Storm said. "In Pennsylvania you will be believed, you will have services, and together we're gonna fight like heck that you have justice at some point."
Storm is calling on victims and supporters to join her in the annual Crime Victim's Rights Rally at the capitol on April 15th. She said they need to show their legistlators that they are serious and the statute of limitations must come to an end.
Cambria County District Attorney Kelly Callihan originally brought information of child sexual abuse and cover up in the diocese to the Attorney General's office.
She said she is thankful the AG took the call for help seriously, and she's reminded every day of the damage the religious leaders have done to the community.
"People want to talk about this," Callihan said. "Grown adults have broken down and cried to me. So the time is now. Like you said, the silence is over. We need to change as a community. We need to demand more of our clergy and our diocese, and we need to make changes together with everyone at the table going forward."
They are also urging everyone to write, call, tweet, etc. their legislators to make the change happen