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Funding to fight sexual assault

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Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced a grant for nearly half a million dollars that will be used to improve response to sexual assault crimes in Western Illinois. 

"Our real goal here is to increase response," said Madigan. "We need to make sure people are reporting, we need to make sure people are receiving the services they need to heal." 

The grant will be used in Adams, Brown, Hancock, McDonough and Schuyler Counties.

"What we hear time and time again, particularly in smaller counties in Illinois is that they would like to do better and they are committed to doing that, but it is very difficult because they don't have the resources," said Madigan. 

Over a three year period, a Regional Rural Sexual Assault Response Team made up of sexual assault nurse examiners, sexual assault victim advocates, law enforcement officers and prosecutors will be formed. Local advocates said the team will make a difference.

"Getting together and being educated regarding some of the issues and helping each one of our groups get additional information to help the victim tell their story will be better," said Diane Mayfield. 

Madigan said it's important for sexual assault victims to know and feel like they can seek justice. 

"There's a very large population of people in the country that never go to law enforcement and often times never fully heal and never fully seek justice and we really have to change that. 

Last year Madigan was involved in helping to pass a landmark law that requires first responders, police officers and investigators to receive specialized sexual assault training. 

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