Every human, regardless of gender, race, class, sexual orientation, or gender identity, should be able to feel safe wherever they are. While providing services to individuals affected by domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking and other serious crimes is the cornerstone of our work, it is not enough. At VIP, we recognize that social change is essential to both addressing the root causes of violence and improving our legal, social, and political responses to these important issues. By changing our culture, we cannot solve these issues once and for all.
Since the beginning, VIP has advocated for social change on a number of fronts: working with the youth in our communities, providing testimony, meeting with legislators and hosting awareness events.
VIP’s advocates spend time working with our youth in the school districts in Wayne and Pike Counties. Our youth is our future and we believe they have great potential with social change. Some of the programs that VIP uses in the schools includes a component for building teen leadership. Particularly note-worthy is the fact that these programs focus on helping teens with leadership who would not normally rise to the forefront in leadership. For example, we are not talking about the student council, athletes or the number one student for the leaders. These programs build leadership skills for those students who are quiet, perhaps not involved in sports or clubs, and do not really have a great opportunity to build those skills.
Programs presented by VIP in the schools include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Bullying and Harassment
- Expect Respect
- Internet Safety
- Dating Violence
- Building Healthy Relationships
- Girl Power!
- Dangers of sexting/texting
- Body Safety
- Bystander Intervention
Raising awareness of these issues is key to preventing them from happening. VIP participates in Human Trafficking Awareness Month (January), Stalking Awareness Month (January), Teen Dating Violence Month (February), Women’s History Month (March), Sexual Assault Awareness Month (April), Domestic Violence Awareness Month (October), and many other campaigns. Details regarding awareness events can be found in the event section.
VIP is extremely grateful for our legislators who always take time to listen to our advocates and most importantly the victims and survivors. VIP staff participate in Legislative Advocacy Day with PCAR (Pennsylvania Coalition against Rape) and PCADV (Pennsylvania Coalition against Domestic Violence). This is a day that many programs from the Commonwealth meet for a rally at the Capital. Advocates and victims/survivors also meet with legislators regarding how current bills will help or hurt victims. Everyone is welcome to attend.
VIP staff also participate in the Crime Victims’ Rally day hosted by OVA, the Office of the Victim Advocate. This is also held at the Capital in Harrisburg. Everyone is welcome to attend.
VIP’s Executive Director was invited to provide testimony to the Senate Judicial Committee regarding the Statute of Limitations for sexual abuse victims and survivors.