New program supports victims of sex crimes

The Tribune

Survivors of sexual assault now have a new organization to turn to for help. The Indiana attorney general was among several state leaders who recently announced the creation of the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault. Its sole purpose is to provide a strong support network for victims of various sex crimes.

“One of the reasons why this is becoming its own stand-alone entity is because this is a complex nuance problem,” said Rep. Christina Hale, D-Indianapolis. “We’re talking about problems from campus rape, date rape, child seduction and incest.”

The problem is prevalent. According to the coalition, one in six Indiana girls have been raped or assaulted by the time they’re in high school. The average age of an assault victim in Indiana is 9.5 years old. More then three-fourths of the time the assault is committed by someone the victim trusts.

In addition to the new statewide network, Attorney General Greg Zoeller also spread the word about Indiana’s Hope Card program. The program allows anyone with a valid, long-term (12 months or more) order of protection for domestic violence, stalking, and/or sexual assault, to request a card that summarizes the order’s most important details.

The Hope Card is a laminated card, similar in size and shape to a credit card. It contains essential information about a civil protection order in a durable, easy-to-read format, such as:

Identifying characteristics of the person being ordered to “stay away”

A color photograph when available

Issue date of the order

Expiration date of the order

Terms of the order

The Hope Card provides law enforcement with critical information regarding an order of protection. In case of potential violation of an order, an officer can refer to the Hope Card for more information.

Reducing the number of sexual assaults in Indiana will be an ongoing battle requiring a broad-based approach at both the statewide and local levels. These recent steps by the attorney general are part of that effort.

On the Web

Information about Indiana’s Hope Card program is available at

At issue

One in six Indiana girls have been raped or assaulted by the time they’re in high school.

Our point

Recent initiatives by the Indiana attorney general are part of a broad-based effort to combat this problem.