by the Sexual Assault Center
Family Services’ Sexual Assault Center has been serving Door County since 1995, and it has seen a steady increase in the number of clients served within the last few years. In 2017, the total number served in Door County was 35. In 2018, it was 74 clients, and so far in 2019, the number is 81. With only half of the year complete, the Sexual Assault Center projects that it will double the number of clients served compared to 2018.
Jamie Craig, the Door County coordinator/victim advocate, said, “We believe the increase in clients is due to the collaboration of organizations involved in seeking justice and healing for victims, instead of an increase in sexual assaults occurring in the community. Hopefully, victims are feeling believed, empowered and supported, and this is why they are reporting their assaults.”
The Door County coordinator works closely with the staff members of law-enforcement agencies and the district attorney’s office, all of whom take sexual-assault cases seriously and work diligently to hold the perpetrators accountable for their crimes.
The Sexual Assault Center offers many services to victims. They receive emotional support from an advocate after an assault or when a victim discloses a past assault. A trained advocate or volunteer speaks with the victim to offer options such as therapy referrals and reporting to law enforcement, explains evidence collection at a hospital and provides prevention education. In addition, an advocate can accompany the victim through the police interview and a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Exam).
Because of the increase in reported sexual assaults, the Sexual Assault Center needs volunteers to cover night and weekend calls and response. Volunteers are trained to answer hotline calls and to respond to police stations and hospitals to provide immediate support to victims. Without volunteers, the Sexual Assault Center would not be able to provide ongoing support, prevention education, community presentations or follow-up services. If you’re interested in volunteering or learning more about the Sexual Assault Center, call the 24/7 hotline at 920.746.8996.
This article is brought to you in part by the Door County Coordinated Community Response to Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Teams and the Door County Elder and Adult-at-Risk Interdisciplinary Team.