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The Boston Area Rape Crisis Center

2009 National Crime Victim Service Award | National Crime Victims’ Service Awards

The Boston Area Rape Crisis Center | National Crime Victim Service Award
Cambridge, Massachusetts

The Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC), founded in 1973, is one of the oldest rape crisis centers in the country. BARCC began in a room just big enough for a desk, a single mattress, and a telephone. Several volunteers willingly took turns spending the night in this room to help victims of sexual assault around the clock. 

Three and a half decades later, BARCC has a staff of 22 full-time employees; many with advanced degrees and certifications in social work, mental health counseling, public health, law, and business. In addition, more than 130 volunteers and interns serve as medical advocates, hotline counselors, and Community Awareness and Prevention Services (CAPS) educators following completion of a 50-hour state certification training (given by BARCC); all working directly with victims and the public. 

BARCC provides immediate assistance to 4,000 persons each year in the Boston area and reaches an additional 10,000 through outreach, education, and national training. 

BARCC went above and beyond the call of duty by developing the Nation’s first toxicology reporting service to provide survivors information about the results of their “date rape drug” testing at the hospital; supporting the development and eventual establishment of a specific law center dedicated to providing legal services to victims of sexual assault; and assisting in the development of the first sexual assault law enforcement guidelines in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 

BARCC was also selected to rewrite the Commonwealth’s training for law enforcement personnel. 

BARCC has established itself as a model for other rape crisis centers across the country, many of which have incorporated BARCC’s programs, partnerships, and trainings into their programs. From a single room to an agency, BARCC has not forgotten its core mission to be a “place where, day or night, a survivor can reach out for help …” 

BARCC continues to dedicate itself to healing and advocating change for individuals and communities affected by sexual violence. BARCC has done a great job promoting victims’ rights and healing across the Boston area, in Massachusetts, and throughout the Nation. 

BARCC was nominated by Janet Yassen, Director, Victims of Violence Program, Cambridge Health Alliance.