A subcontract has been awarded by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape PCAR) to Victims’ Intervention Program (VIP) to extend sexual assault services for victims in Pike County.

HONESDALE - A subcontract has been awarded by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape PCAR) to Victims’ Intervention Program (VIP) to extend sexual assault services for victims in Pike County.

Based in Honesdale, VIP provides services for victims of assault- both domestic violence and sexual abuse - to victims primarily within Wayne County.

Safe Haven of Pike County, based in Milford, provides similar services to victims throughout Pike.

The annual sexual assault service grant or Pike County was up for renewal. PCAR chose to initiate a competitive application process for the Act 44/Title XX provision of services in Pike County in early 2018.

The funded subcontract covers sexual assault services, for the 1st quarter of the fiscal year, July through September.

An evaluation of applications was conducted by PCAR’s Independent Review Committee which was comprised of five individuals representing diverse interests, cultures and backgrounds.

VIP’s proposal stood out from the other applicants, according to PCAR.

“The Victims’ Intervention Program, under the current leadership of Michele Minor Wolf, has provided outstanding service to Wayne County residents for more than 30 years,” PCAR Chief Operating Officer Joyce Lukima said. “VIP’s high-standards for victim services, efficient fiscal management of resources and capacity to expand their community footprint to Pike County left a strong impression on the review committee.”

Wolf stated, “My intent is to work hand in hand with Pike in the best interest of the survivor.”

Safe Haven, however, will also continue to offer these services.

Christina M. Byrne, MSW, who was hired as Executive Director for Safe Haven in March, said,

“For over 25 years, Safe Haven has been providing invaluable services to Pike County victims of domestic and sexual violence; and we will continue to do so.”

She continued, “We are disappointed with the PA Coalition Against Rape’s decision to provide the allocated funding for Pike County services to a Wayne County agency because we believe that the people of Pike County are best served by Safe Haven.  Safe Haven has deep roots in Pike County and well-established relationships with key partners in the community; and is intimately aware of the strengths, needs, resources, and opportunities facing Pike County’s victims and the community at large.  This just means that Safe Haven will need local community support more than ever.”

Byrne said that they will use other funding sources to provide the service; PACR is not their main source, she said. Safe Haven had also applied for the PACR funds for sexual assault services.

Wolf stated that with the funding, VIP expects to rent office space in the Lords Valley area. She said that a portion of VIP’s calls do come from Pike County residents. She affirmed that geography is a factor, with sections of Pike County being closer to Wayne County than the county seat in Milford.

VIP will extend the following services to Pike County:

24-hour crisis hotline Accompaniment to medical facilities, police investigations and court proceedings Crisis counseling Individual advocacy Information and referral Systems advocacy Prevention education Professional training.  

“While we are located in the county seat of Wayne County, we are very aware of the barriers to accessing services in rural areas,” Wolf said. “Over the years, we have developed many programs and projects to reduce those barriers to accessing services. Many of our services are now provided in the community, rather than our offices. If folks can’t get to us, we go to them.”

She added that VIP’s donors should be made aware that contributions made to VIP will continue to stay in Wayne County.  PACR is funding the subcontract in Pike County, and the budget for Pike will remain completely separate, Wolf said.

Wolf has served as executive director of VIP since 1997.

In addition to domestic violence and sexual assault services, both nonprofit agencies serve victims of other serious crimes.

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VIP maintains a 24-hour crisis hotline at 1-800-698-4VIP or 570-253-4401.

VIP’s office phone may be reached at 570-253-4401.

Visit VIP online at vipempowers.org and on Facebook.

Safe Haven of Pike County has a 24-hour crisis phone line, at 570-296-HELP (4357). Their office phone number is 570-296-2827.

Visit Safe Haven online at shopcempowers.org and on Facebook.