A JOINT STATEMENT FROM THE BOSTON AREA RAPE CRISIS CENTER AND THE BOSTON POLICE SEXUAL ASSAULT UNIT

As a result of a recent news article in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, the issue of safety for undocumented victims of sexual assault or rape has come into question. The Boston Area Rape Crisis Center and the Boston Police Sexual Assault Unit wish to reassure victims that local law enforcement has no interest in a victim’s immigration status. Police are only interested in ensuring justice for a victim and holding a perpetrator accountable. “We feel that this is an important opportunity to let the public know that the police do not question a victim’s immigration status when they are reporting a crime”, said Captain Detective Mark Hayes of the Sexual Assault Unit.

Referring to a controversy surrounding statements reported in the Worcester Telegram and Gazette made by representative Fattman (R-Sutton), Gina Scaramella the Executive Director at the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center stated, “We work hard to reduce the barriers for survivors to access as many options as possible from the rape crisis center, the hospitals, and the police.” Scaramella added, “Since people listen to public officials, it is very unfortunate whenever there is a statement made that makes our work to support victims more difficult.”

Captain Detective Hayes added, “In 2009, the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security issued Adult Sexual Assault Law Enforcement Guidelines to set the baseline standard for handling these crimes in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.   In these guidelines there is recognition that immigration status is a barrier felt by victims in reporting this crime.  We work to provide reassurance to any victim facing obstacles because reporting the crime is the only way police are going to be able to hold offenders accountable.”

BARCC is the second oldest rape crisis center in the nation, and the oldest and largest in Massachusetts. With a service area of twenty-seven cities and towns and over three million people, we provide 24 hour help and support as well as prevention education. Visit www.barcc.org. For 24 hour support contact 800-841-8371.

 

For media inquires contact Gina Scaramella, Executive Director (617) 649-1265.

To view news story click below:

http://www.telegram.com/article/20110621/NEWS/110629940

http://telegram.com/article/20110608/NEWS/106089913/1116