Member Spotlight: Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MCASA)

May 1, 2024

By Cecilia Schenking

For over 40 years, Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MCASA) has done tremendous work to help prevent sexual assault, advocate for accessible, compassionate care for survivors of sexual violence, and work to hold offenders accountable. MCASA is the federally recognized state sexual assault coalition.  Every state and territory has a sexual assault coalition.  The coalitions provide support for the state’s rape crisis centers, help bring the voices of survivors into state policy discussions, and provide public education and prevention.

In keeping with its mission, MCASA actively advocates for state legislation that promotes justice for survivors and accountability for offenders. They promote public awareness of sexual violence issues and rape crisis and recovery center services. MCASA provides education and training for counselors, advocates, medical personnel, law enforcement, court personnel and more.

Specific programs including regular training for rape crisis centers and other victim advocates working with survivors.  These range from comprehensive programs for sexual assault victim advocates, to specialized “Lunch & Learn” presentations on discrete topics like how juvenile justice reform affects survivors.  Programs are recorded and available online.  Professionals working with survivors can also request a training tailored to their needs.

MCASA also helps support systems reform and advocates to improve the response to survivors.  One recent example of this is participation in the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI), a project to inventory Maryland’s backlog of untested rape kits, test them, and notify survivors about the status of their kits.  This project is in collaboration with the Attorney General’s Office, the Maryland State Police, and the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention & Policy.  Survivors seeking information about their kits can reach out to or call 833-364-0046. 

Other efforts to improve the State’s response to survivors include the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) Initiative.  This coordinates comprehensive and sensitive interventions for sexual violence survivors with multi-disciplinary inter-agency teams. The College Consortium Project helps colleges and universities throughout Maryland to establish sexual violence prevention task forces.  And MCASA works in collaboration with the state’s forensic nurse examiners to support trauma-informed and sensitive treatment of survivors seeking care.

MCASA is also home to the nationally recognized Sexual Assault Legal Institute (SALI).  SALI provides direct legal services to survivors of sexual violence and offers technical assistance and trainings for attorneys, rape crisis and recovery center staff and volunteers, and other professionals. SALI just celebrated 20 years of helping survivors.

Finally, MCASA provides peer support for professionals working with survivors.  Maryland’s rape crisis center directors gather monthly.  There are statewide zoom calls for attorneys working with survivors and another for advocates.  The Maryland Women of Color Network promotes education, advocacy, and leadership in communities of color.

This is a small peek into the services and programs that MCASA provides for individuals affected by sexual violence. In this final week of April, as we come to the end of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, let’s remember the daily fight waged by nonprofit organizations to end sexual violence.  For more information on the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault, visit