Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Quigley to Expand Services Shelter Plans to Aid Clay Assault Victims

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Quigley to Expand Services Shelter Plans to Aid Clay Assault Victims

Article excerpt

Since opening in 1991 as a domestic violence shelter in Clay

County, Quigley House has provided a safe haven for hundreds of

abused women.

Soon, perhaps next month, the facility will expand its scope of

services to include help for victims of sexual assault.

"We're shooting for mid-October," said Executive Director Ellen

Siler. "This is exciting. The same staff can be cross-trained to

answer the hot line, and if victims don't feel safe in their own

homes, we can shelter them temporarily."

In addition to providing temporary emergency housing, she said,

the program will prevent victims from having to travel so far

for treatment.

"If you're raped in Clay County you have to go to University

Medical Center [Jacksonville's Sexual Assault Center] for

treatment and counseling," said Siler. "Law enforcement has to

transport them all the way up there.

"If a victim wants follow-up counseling and transportation is

not available, it's too far to expect a rape victim to go."

Under the new program, which is being initiated with a $47,090

state grant, victims will be taken to Columbia Orange Park

Medical Center on Kingsley Avenue.

Siler said 90 sexual battery complaints were reported in Clay

County in 1996, which was nearly 14 percent higher than the

previous year. But that might not be representative of the

actual number of cases, she said.

"With sexual assaults we know there are many more that happen

than are reported," she said. "My concern is that because the

services have not been available in Clay County, how many people

are not calling the police?

"We talk to many people who have been raped and when we tell

them that the services are available only in Jacksonville, they

don't want to follow through."

The $47,090 grant was appropriated from the state's Violence

Against Women Act Fund, administered by the governor's office.

Quigley House was one of more than 100 applicants statewide for

funding assistance this year.

While the grant is only for 18 months, it will enable Quigley

House to hire a coordinator and establish a track record to

bolster applications for future grants from government and

private agencies, Siler said. …

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