Advertisement

Cleveland Rape Crisis Center sees over 50% increase in child sexual assault survivors in 2021

Police data shows reported rapes are on the rise across Cleveland.
Published: Dec. 21, 2021 at 1:13 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 21, 2021 at 6:35 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - More than 500 rapes have been reported to the Cleveland Division of Police this year, according to crime statistics.

Advocates, however, believe the actual numbers are even higher.

“The number of rapes that are reported every year represent about a third of total instances of violence,” said Sara Trimble, who serves as Chief External Affairs Officer for Cleveland Rape Crisis Center.

Trimble said for every 500 rapes reported to police in Cleveland, it is more likely that around 1,500 rapes actually occurred.

From Jan. 1, 2021 through Nov. 27, 2021, records show 526 rapes were reported to police in Cleveland.

In 2020, a total of 501 rapes were reported for the entire year.

19 Investigates dug deeper into the crime data and found, year-to-year, reports of rape have increased across the entire city.

Overall, cases have increase 14% from 2020, according to Cleveland Police records.

In the First District, on the city’s West Side, rape cases are up nearly 20%.

While the data suggests a spike in sexual assaults, Trimble believes what we are actually seeing is an increase in survivors reporting their attacks.

“When we see the numbers sort of tick up like they are now, 20% higher than they were last year, we think that is an indicator that people understand how to report the crimes that are happening to them, and also just have less stigma about reporting them to law enforcement as well,” Trimble said.

The Covid-19 pandemic has also played a role.

Stay-at-home orders gave sexual predators more access to their would-be victims, while school and day care closures shut off access to the safety nets that often catch signs of sexual abuse.

“I think that’s one of the reasons that we’re seeing that uptick in demand for our programs as well,” Trimble said. “So far this year, we’ve seen over 100 kids below the age of 6.”

About a third of Cleveland Rape Crisis Center’s clients are under the age of 18. Prior to the pandemic, they served around 3,000 children on average annually.

Trimble said the number of children seeking support services in 2021 has gone up more than 50%.

“It’s hard to hear that number of children in our communities may be being hurt, but what we know is if those survivors can find the Rape Crisis Center and they can access the healing services that we provide, we know there’s a really good chance that those kids are going to be OK,” she said.

In addition to locations throughout Cuyahoga County, Cleveland Rape Crisis Center also operates in Ashtabula, Lake and Geauga counties. Virtual telehealth therapy sessions are available as well.

Whether or not someone chooses to report to law enforcement, the Center’s free services are still available to all survivors or rape, sexual abuse, and human trafficking.

In addition to their health and healing services, there are also advocates available to help throughout the criminal justice process.

Cleveland Rape Crisis Center offers case management services for survivors as well.

“Whether that’s financial literacy, health, food, housing, clothing, shelter, we can actually help with those things as well,” Trimble said.

Anyone who is seeking services or has questions can call or text Cleveland Rape Crisis Center’s 24-hour hotline at 216-619-6192. They also have an online chat feature at available at ClevelandRapeCrisis.org.

Copyright 2021 WOIO. All rights reserved.