The Sexual Assault Counseling and Information Service (SACIS) was established by a group of four faculty members at Eastern Illinois University in August of 1977. The group was concerned that victims of sexual assault had no place to go to receive support, counseling, and advocacy. At that time, the name of the organization was Coles County Women Against Rape (CCWAR). Services provided included counseling, advocacy, institutional advocacy, and a very general public education program. Incorporation and not-for-profit status was achieved in the next few years.
SACIS became an early member of the Illinois Coalition of Women Against Rape (now the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault), an affiliation that continues. SACIS received funding from two local United Way agencies for the first few years. Funding from ICASA was first achieved in March of 1982. Membership was entirely volunteer until January of 1983 when a quarter-time public education coordinator was hired.
The public education and professional training programs have greatly expanded since January of 1983 covering a wide variety of topics. A major accomplishment in 1984 was the establishment of child sexual abuse prevention programs in the public school system.
The name of the organization was changed to the Sexual Assault Counseling and Information Service in 1987 in order to attract men as volunteers, to remove “WAR” from CCWAR because the organization is devoted to non-violence, and because “sexual assault” and not “rape” reflect legal terms in Illinois with the establishment of the Illinois Criminal Sexual Assault Law in 1984.
The first office was established in 1987. Prior to that time, all business was conducted out of members’ homes. The office is located in Lawson Hall at Eastern Illinois University.
SACIS provides full, comprehensive services (counseling, advocacy, public education, professional training, and institutional advocacy) in Coles County. Advocacy services are provided in Cumberland County. Educational programs are provided in Kansas and Casey. Special program components include children, people with disabilities, and university students.
A satellite agency, Counseling And Information for Sexual Assault/Abuse, was established in Robinson in 1996. CAISA serves Crawford, Jasper, Lawrence, Richland and Wabash counties.