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Cumberland rape crisis center awaits funding

Employees of the Rape Crisis Network of Cumberland County went to work on Monday knowing they would no longer be paid.

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Employees of the Rape Crisis Network of Cumberland County went to work on Monday knowing they would no longer be paid.

Rape Crisis Network Deanne Hardin said she and the center's two other employees showed up for the clients who are scared and reaching out. 

"We know what they're going through. We know that they need the help. We know what happens when they don't get the help," Hardin said. 

The center failed to get a $35,000 private grant this year, which was supposed to provide enough money until a federal grant to the state is made available.

Ernie Seneca, a spokesman for the N.C. Crime Control and Public Safety office, said the Rape Crisis Network is due to receive $96,410, which includes a $77,128 federal grant and $19,282 in matching funds. 

Seneca said with the state’s budget woes, state government can no longer front the money like it used to. “The state no longer has money it can provide up front,” he said.

Seneca said it could be September before the funds arrive.

Hardin said employees are dealing with the lack of funding. One employee spent several hours at the hospital Monday providing counsel to a possible rape victim.

More than 200 people have called the network to report a sexual assault or a rape this year, sheriff's office spokeswoman Debbie Tanna said Monday.

"Of those 206, a very small number actually want to report it to law enforcement. So, it's not a crime unless someone comes forward and says, 'I've been victimized,'" Tanna said.

The crisis center helps clients make the decision to come forward. Volunteers operate a 24-hour crisis hot-line and are on call to respond to emergency room calls. The center also offers counseling, support groups and courtroom advocacy.

The center is applying for another grant in August.


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