Spike in sexual assault victims receiving medical help - Tucson News Now

Spike in sexual assault victims receiving medical help

(Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Advocates with the Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault (SACASA) visited 46 sexual assault survivors in the hospital last month. The group was making 20 to 25 hospital calls a month towards the beginning of 2016.

Out of the 46 survivors seeking medical assistance in August, ten went forward with a rape kit exam and filing a police report. Some research suggests as much as 80-percent of sexual assaults go unreported nationwide.

SACASA runs a 24-hour crisis hotline, and advocates do not pressure survivors to go to police. Most times the survivor's ordeal does not end with an arrest and conviction, and advocates say survivors may find the process difficult.

"A police officer's job is to validate to the best of their ability whether or not something happened so their questioning is very different from our questioning as advocates," says Laura Angeley, crisis advocate center for SACASA. "Our job is to validate and believe first, so we have different approaches from law enforcement and that's OK."

Angeley says there are many reasons why survivors choose to go to police, and the center is there to support them every step of the way.

"If reporting would bring a survivor a sense of closure, a sense of justice and ultimately feels in their gut that's a safe and right thing for them to do, we would be more than happy to facilitate in that process," says Angeley.

SACASA offers support services including therapy. The SACASA crisis hotline can be reached at (520) 327-7273 or toll free at (800) 400-1001.

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