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Sexual Assault Center sees spike in cases as waiting list grows during pandemic

Posted at 10:57 PM, Sep 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-21 23:57:33-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Metro Nashville has seen an alarming increase in calls to report domestic abuse in the past few months as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Of particular concern, is an increase in reports of sexual assault. As the Sexual Assault Center in Nashville says it's trying to help victims the best they can, its waiting list keeps growing longer and longer.

Rachel Freeman with the Sexual Assault Center says the pandemic has left them without enough counselors to immediately serve everyone who needs them.

"If we were to receive an increase in funding, our biggest need at the moment is to address the crisis needs of the new people calling in, our waiting list continues to grow," Freeman said.

The Sexual assault center says they’ve seen an increase in the number of people reporting sexual assaults since safer at home restrictions have loosened, but their budget doesn’t allow for more therapists and case managers right now.

The Sexual Assault Center works with Metro’s Family Safety Center and receives money to operate through them. Right now metro is looking to hire more therapists for the family safety center and help out programs like the Sexual Assault Center, pointing to a near tripling of people seeking help.

"We’re looking to hire new therapists and people who can help that immediate need to help people through the crisis of seeking help so they don’t have to sit on the waiting list, that’s the last thing we want anyone to experience who has been sexually assaulted," Freeman said.

But Governor Lee turned down Mayor Cooper’s funding request, pointing to the need to further help out Metro Businesses suffering through the pandemic instead, leaving Metro needing to look elsewhere to find that money.