Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center
The Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center is a non-profit rape crisis center operating in Gurnee, Illinois
Gurnee, Illinois
Gurnee is a village in Lake County, Illinois, United States. The population was 28,834 at the 2000 census, and estimated to be 30,772 in 2005. The village borders the city of Waukegan and is considered a part of the Chicago metropolitan area. Gurnee is perhaps best known for being the location of...

, and was incorporated in 1983. The center is a member organization of the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ICASA), which provides funding and state-wide standards for 33 rape crisis centers throughout Illinois.


The Zacharias Center offers three programs directly targeted at sexual abuse
Sexual abuse
Sexual abuse, also referred to as molestation, is the forcing of undesired sexual behavior by one person upon another. When that force is immediate, of short duration, or infrequent, it is called sexual assault. The offender is referred to as a sexual abuser or molester...

 victims, a 24 Hour Hotline
Crisis hotline
A crisis hotline is a phone number people can call to get immediate emergency telephone counseling, usually by trained volunteers. Such hotlines have existed in most major cities of the United States at least since the mid-1970s. Initially set up to help those contemplating suicide, many have...

 (847-872-7799), counseling services, and advocacy services, which includes medical and legal assistance on behalf of the victim.

In addition, Sexual Assault Prevention-Education classes are delivered onsite to school children, their parents, school administrators and teachers, and professional training is offered to police, emergency room staff, social workers, court personnel and other groups working with survivors of sexual abuse and assault.


In 1997, the Zacharias Center opened a new building to house operations. The building concept represents the theoretical and architectural concept of “The Emotional Content of the Physical Space” .

Input from sexual abuse victims was used in order to create an environment which would be interpreted by clients as safe. The building incorporates open spaces, multiple and large windows allowing for extra light, high ceilings, soft-tone colors, outdoor garden areas and comfortable furniture.


In early 1977, women activists from nine community-based rape crisis centers in Illinois gathered to provide mutual support. These activists named their group the Illinois Coalition of Women Against Rape (ICWAR). In 1984 the name of ICWAR was changed to the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ICASA) to reflect the inclusion of men as victims of sexual assault.

In August 1981 the Lake County
Lake County, Illinois
Lake County is a county in the northeastern corner of the state of Illinois, on the shore of Lake Michigan. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 703,462, which is an increase of 9.2% from 644,356 in 2000. Its county seat is Waukegan. The county is part of the Chicago metropolitan area...

 Health Department formed a Rape Victim Advocacy Task Force to study the need for rape victim advocacy services in Lake County, Illinois. Their findings documented that services to rape victims in Lake County, Illinois were inadequate and fragmented. The first funding for sexual assault crisis centers, $148,889, was distributed by ICWAR to 12 centers in 1982. Later that year, four more centers were funded. Subsequent funds enabled centers to hire advocates, counselors and educators.

In 1983, the Zacharias Center was accepted as a member of ICASA and granted funding support. In 1984, 24 hour Hotline and Medical Advocacy service began, as well as Community Education and Professional Training Programs. In 1985, the Center received a grant from the Violent Crime Victims Assistance Fund and was accepted as a member of United Way of Lake County.


Marilyn Van Derbur
Marilyn Van Derbur
Marilyn Van Derbur is the 1958 Miss America pageant holder.Van Derbur from Denver, Colorado, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Colorado...

, a former Miss America and incest survivor, became an supporter of the Zacharias Center. She has received many awards including recognition for “Exceptional Achievement in Public Service from the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Washington D.C.”

See also

  • List of anti-sexual assault organizations in the United States
  • Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE)
  • Rape
    Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person's consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of valid consent. The...

  • Rape kit
  • Sexual assault
    Sexual assault
    Sexual assault is an assault of a sexual nature on another person, or any sexual act committed without consent. Although sexual assaults most frequently are by a man on a woman, it may involve any combination of two or more men, women and children....

External links

White House Website Proclamation
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