Tips to Talk to Policy Makers about Survivors During the COVID-19 Crisis

Woman wearing a hijab and glasses having a video chat conversation

As we all navigate the COVID-19 together, it’s important now more than ever to communicate with policy makers about survivors. The RALIANCE District Advocacy Toolkit is a helpful guide on how to advocate for survivors in your communities.

In light of COVID-19, instead of setting up in-person meetings with senators, representatives, and/or their district staff, we encourage you to set up remote teleconference or video meetings. Members of Congress are comfortable using remote technology for work. After all, communications between the district office and D.C. office happen all the time!

We’d also recommend focusing on how this global health emergency is directly impacting survivors and local programs. Below are some key points that we have been raising in our conversations with policymakers:

– While the CARES Act passed by Congress last week has important provisions for struggling people and non-profits, we want Congress to go the next step in their fourth stimulus package to address the needs of survivors and rape crisis centers specifically.
– We’re advocating for $100 million in emergency funding for the Sexual Assault Services Program (SASP) to allow rape crisis centers and coalitions to transition to remote services.
– We also know it’s very difficult for programs to find matching funds for the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding so vital to keeping direct services going so we’re advocating for the match requirement to be waived.

As we discuss in our recent advocacy webinar, sharing your story and what you see in your community are always the most important things to share with policy makers. In addition to advocating for SASP funds and the VOCA match waiver, we’d encourage you to talk about how COVID-19 is impacting survivors in your community when you meet with members and/or their staff by phone or video.

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