For Immediate Release - April 14, 2016

Youth Access to Support and Services (YASS) Receives Victim Service "Innovations Award" For Serving Adolescent Survivors Of Sexual Abuse

BOSTON – During Victim Rights Month in April, Attorney General Maura Healey and the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance (MOVA) recognize individuals and organizations that made significant advancements in victim rights and services in the state. 

Youth Access to Support and Services (YASS), received this year’s “Innovations Award” for increasing access to specialized rape crisis and sexual assault services for adolescent survivors of sexual abuse.

The YASS Program is a collaborative project of the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC), the Center for Hope and Healing, Inc. (CHH), and Pathways for Change (PFC) which serves survivors of sexual violence in the greater Boston, Lowell, and Worcester areas.

With funding from the Attorney General’s Office, this collaboration increases access for adolescents (ages 12 to 22) to comprehensive sexual assault services through connecting with schools, youth programs, and other community partners. YASS programming at these rape crisis centers reduces the emotional and mental health impacts of abuse with services that include youth resource lines, counselling services, specialized groups for LGBTQ youth, and leadership and advocacy opportunities through the YASS Youth Leadership Corps.

“YASS has changed our agency and our community” said Isa M. Woldeguiorguis, Executive Director. “Young people, especially those at the margins, are very vulnerable to sexual violence and so are in the best position to lead the way towards solutions and increased access to help.”

 YASS also provides trainings for adult providers in schools and youth serving organizations to ensure that adults who work with young people are able to recognize, respond, and refer survivors to supportive services.

“YASS has done incredible work providing critical services and compassionate care to victims of abuse. We are proud to recognize this programming and all our award recipients during Victim Rights Month for their tremendous commitment to helping some of the most vulnerable members of our communities,” said Attorney General Maura Healey.

“The YASS program has established an exceptional model for addressing the very real issue of sexual violence in our schools and with young people,” said Liam Lowney, Executive Director of MOVA. “Their work has created new strategies to educate and help young survivor’s access support and community.  The YASS collaborators and staff are extremely deserving of this recognition.”

For further information on the services provided by CHH, Inc. and YASS, please contact Camila Barrera at (978) 452-YASS (9277) or Camila@centerforhopehealing.org. For additional information on Victim Rights Month or this year’s award recipients, please visit www.mass.gov/MOVA or call (617) 586-1340.