Rape Crisis Center expands across Northeast Ohio

Posted at 5:41 PM, Oct 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-31 10:39:43-04

The Cleveland Rape Crisis Center will expand its services for survivors of rape and sexual abuse after receiving $4.6 million in funding through the Attorney General's Office. Funding came from the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) program.

Sarah Trimble with the center said they are experiencing an all-time high in calls. In the last two months, they've had a 300 percent increase in calls. 

“When the national conversation focuses on the issues of rape and sexual abuse, many survivors are re-traumatized by these conversations," Trimble said. 

In 2013, the Center received 3,000 calls. This year, Trimble said it's on track to hit 8,000. 

To make sure all calls are answered, the Center will hire 15 new direct service positions with the grant money, bringing its staff size to 80.

The funds will allow the Crisis Center to maintain its victim assistance, counseling, and 24-hour services in Cuyahoga, Ashtabula, Geauga and Lake Counties.

“That was my safe spot. That was where I could go. I was believed. I wasn’t asked what I was wearing. I wasn’t asked what I drank. I wasn’t asked what my relationship with the rapist was," said sexual assault survivor Alisa Alfaro. 

Alfaro was raped and said the Center helped her heal, offering counseling and a shoulder to lean on. 

Trimble said the grant will allow the Center to expand in 2019, adding a new facility on the east side of Cleveland, as well as a new Lake County office. 

The Crisis Center is also expanding Project STAR, a program helping with sex trafficking survivors. Trimble said they only have one full-time employee, and the grant will bump that number to four.

“I am pleased to provide this grant to Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, to maintain and expand its comprehensive services and support to survivors of sexual violence in Cuyahoga, Ashtabula, Geauga and Lake Counties,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.  “Thanks to the hard work of Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, more survivors of sexual violence in Northeast Ohio will be able to access the services they need to move forward with their lives.”

If you are interested in volunteering or need to report a sexual abuse or assault case, call 216-619-6194.