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NFL commits $10 million to sexual violence prevention initiative

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  • By NFL.com
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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Three leading sexual violence prevention organizations announced today the creation of "Raliance," a collaborative initiative dedicated to ending sexual violence in one generation. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA)-PreventConnect, and the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV) have joined together to compose the new entity. This significant moment in the prevention movement is being made possible through a multiyear, $10 million commitment from the National Football League (NFL) -- the first-ever major corporate funding of sexual violence prevention initiatives.

Each of the three partner organizations will take on a unique and critical role in leading Raliance. NSVRC will head Raliance's efforts to promote effective, clear and consistent communication around sexual violence; CALCASA-PreventConnect will drive prevention programming, with an initial focus on the role of sports and athletics; and NAESV will manage the development of effective public policies.

"High-profile cases over the past few years have sparked a national conversation around sexual violence," said Delilah Rumburg, CEO of NSVRC. "With America focused on this very important issue, we have an unprecedented opportunity to improve understanding of sexual violence and ultimately change behaviors. As a nationally coordinated initiative, Raliance will integrate communication about policy, prevention and intervention to drive and expedite real change."

The name Raliance was inspired by the entity's intent to rally engagement from stakeholders and align goals and resources behind its overarching mission of putting a stop to sexual violence once and for all. By leveraging each leading organization's collective assets and expertise, Raliance will serve as the central hub for effective allocation and distribution of programmatic funding and as the go-to resource for policymakers, advocates, service providers and the media. More specifically, Raliance will:

-- Expand sexual violence prevention strategies across communities nationwide;

-- Advance research to increase understanding of the issue, measure progress and develop resources, programs and policies for effective response and prevention;

-- Promote accuracy and sensitivity in how sexual violence is reported in the media;

-- Inform policymaking at national, state and local levels;

-- Strengthen support services for victims/survivors; and

-- Increase access to treatment for people at risk of causing sexual harm.

"Raliance operates under a belief that sexual violence is preventable. We believe that if it can be learned, it can be unlearned," said Sandra Henriquez, executive director of CALCASA-PreventConnect. "We have set a bold agenda that will allow us to maximize this watershed moment in which the public's awareness and outrage surrounding sexual violence is more heightened than ever before. Raliance believes that the moment to rally folks is today -- not in the future, but now. We call upon each segment of society to join with us today, as we set about ending sexual violence in one generation!"

To ensure Raliance is easily accessible to a nationwide network of policymakers, advocates, service providers and the media, the new entity is headquartered in downtown Washington, D.C.

"Our centralized entity will enable organizations working to end sexual violence to leverage the important moment we're currently experiencing and finally overcome misconceptions and barriers that have burdened us in the past," said Monika Johnston-Hostler, president of NAESV.

"Sexual assault is an issue that impacts communities worldwide in staggering numbers, and we share Raliance's belief that we all have a responsibility to help change that," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "We are pleased to help drive real change, support innovative programs and make significant and lasting headway in combatting sexual violence. We know that Raliance's important work will make a difference for thousands of women and men around the country."

"We have seen a lot of organizations struggle with how to address sexual violence in a meaningful way," said Karen Baker, director of NSVRC. "The NFL's commitment to join the sexual violence prevention movement is unprecedented, and we welcome them as a partner in our collective efforts to change the culture in one generation."

As its first initiative, and made possible through the NFL's commitment, Raliance will fund 27 projects totaling nearly $1.2 million in the first round of an ongoing grant program. The program seeks to advance promising, replicable practices or policies that 1) improve the response to victims of sexual violence; 2) reduce the likelihood of perpetration of sexual violence; or 3) strengthen communities' and organizations' capacity to create safe environments. Each grantee will receive funding of up to $50,000 from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017. A full list of newly awarded grants is available online at www.raliance.org. The application period for the second round of grants, totaling $600,000, will open on July 5, 2016.

In addition, other efforts underway over the next year for Raliance include: developing a report on the state of sexual violence in the U.S.; researching effective prevention communication; mapping an overview of promising sexual violence prevention practices and programs throughout the "sports pipeline," from youth to professional leagues; training journalists on informed and accurate reporting around sexual violence; creating a policy think tank; and holding a national youth leadership summit to mentor the next generation of leaders on prevention policies.

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