WOW – NOVA has been around for 40 years! What an important organization, although it’s a real shame there even needs to be such an organization.
We wanted to share their press release below:
Forty years ago, Connie Mayers of Langhorne and Yvonne Kaye, a human services worker, pulled together a group of women with a dream to improve conditions for rape victims in Bucks County. They called their organization Women Organized Against Rape.
Society was still learning that the victim’s recovery process is directly affected by the kind of support she receives immediately following the attack. The crisis-intervention counseling provided by a WOAR volunteer gave a victim a better chance for a faster recovery—to cope with the crisis and integrate it into her life experiences without letting it “rule” her life.
WOAR decided from the start to work cooperatively with the organizations, including police and hospital personnel, then designated to handle rape cases. The nonprofit’s role in hospital emergency rooms and at police interviews convinced then-district attorney Ken Biehn to support the group’s efforts, giving them validation and a degree of power.
These initial efforts changed every stage of a victim’s case, from developing standardized procedures for collecting and maintaining physical evidence and enlisting police and hospital emergency room support, to changing how cases were assigned to prosecutors and training law enforcement and hospital personnel to help sensitize them to the trauma of rape and debunk the myths.
In 1975, its first full year of operation, the agency of volunteers handled 54 cases. Soon, it added more services – a shift in focus that presaged the name change 10 years later to Network of Victim Assistance, reflecting the broader mission and range of programs for victims of all violent crimes.
Today, as NOVA celebrates its 40th year, it is the only comprehensive crime victim services agency in Bucks County. Once an all-volunteer agency, it now has a paid staff of 47 bolstered by a dedicated core of 150 volunteers. NOVA’s budget is in excess of $2.6 million, and it operates out of three well-appointed offices in upper, central, and lower Bucks.
Besides its 24-hour crisis hotline, NOVA provides individual and group counseling to victims, victim accompaniment for hospital and court visits, a wide range of prevention education programs for all ages (such as cyber-crime, elder crime, child sexual abuse and bullying), and trainings for professionals. The Bucks County Children’s Advocacy Center, which provides children who are suspected victims of abuse with a safe means of telling their stories to investigators, operates under NOVA’s auspices.
During NOVA’s fiscal year 2014, the agency served 3,761 victims and their family members and provided 1,492 prevention education programs in Bucks County Schools to 38,285 students, parents, and teachers.
NOVA’s impact on our community is often behind the scenes, but the services it provides are life-changing and life-saving for the staggering numbers of victims and their families who are beneficiaries of its innovative and highly respected efforts. The nonprofit organization has the enthusiastic cooperation of municipal and county agencies, law enforcement, medical facilities, and numerous social and educational services groups across the county—and across the nation.
The Voices Against Violence Campaign, co-chaired by former Pennsylvania Governor Mark Schweiker and local art gallery owner Kim E. Gronendahl, was conceived to put the only comprehensive crime victim services agency in Bucks County on firmer financial footing. The campaign’s three objectives are:
1. Capital acquisition, renovation, and building reserve fund: $1.2 million
2. Critical programs and services: $350,000
3. Build endowment fund: $350,000
NOVA will honor donors and officially close the capital campaign on October 15, 2014, at its 40th anniversary celebration and auction at The Fuge in Warminster. For tickets and more information on this joyous event, check http://www.novabucks.org/40th-anniversary-celebration-auction/ or call Janice at 215.343.6543.Bucks County Women’s Journal http://buckscountywomensjournal.com/