The Georgia Bureau of Investigation reported that in 2017 there were over 3,000 reported cases of sexual assault and sex-related crime such as rape. While this number my seem shocking, it represents only a fraction of the number of sexual assaults that happen in Georgia every year.
Many victims of sexual assault don’t report it to the police because they believe they will not be believed, they will be judged, or that they will be shamed. We, as a society, need to stop this belief to protect the victims of sexual predators.
What is Sexual Assault in Georgia
Under Georgia law, sexual assault includes several actions or situations. The law states that sexual assault is: ‘any unconsented activity, with or without force” is prohibited.
Resources Available For Victims Of Sexual Assault
Sexual Violence Resource of Georgia: This organization can be found online at: https://sugra.org. or you can contact them Monday-Friday at: 404-657-1956.
The Sexual Violence Resource of Georgia has what they call Sexual Assault Response Teams (SART). There are many SART’s throughout Georgia. The interagency coordinates their members in an approach that centers around you, the victim. They will look at your individual circumstances and respects the roles of different professionals when they respond to your sexual assault case.
Crime Victim’s Compensation Program: This program can be found online at: www.crimevictimscomp.ga.gov. The Criminal Justice Coordinating Council is the organization that administers this program. They help you as the victim of sexual assault, and your family to deal with the emotional and physical issues that may arise after the crime by providing assistance in the form of money for certain expenses.
When you visit the website, there is a questionnaire you must answer to see if you qualify for the program. If you do, you may be entitled to the following benefits:
- Medical and Dental Expenses up to $15,000
- Loss of Income or Support up to $10,000
- Mental Health Counseling up to $3,000
- Funeral Expenses up to $6,000
- Crime Scene Sanitization up to $1,500
Other Georgia Resources For Victims Of Sexual Assault
Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault: https://www.gnesa.org
They have an extensive network of sexual assault care centers throughout the state. They also work with advocacy organizations, which increase public awareness and fight for the rights of sexual assault victims. They provide a complete list of sexual assault centers throughout Georgia on their website. These sexual assault centers are a safe haven for those who have recently experienced sexual assault or domestic violence. They offer medical treatment as well as counseling to help victims determine their next steps.
Grady Rape Crisis Center
80 Jesse Hill Drive, SE
P.O. Box 26049
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
They serve both Fulton & DeKalb counties. They offer on-site services such as SANE exams, counseling, and support groups.
The Center for Victims of Torture
4020 E. Ponce De Leon Drive
They serve Fulton, DeKalb, and Gwinnet counties and offer onsite services such as counseling and support groups.
University Health Services, Inc.
Rape Crisis and Sexual Assault Services
1350 Walton Way
Augusta, GA 30901
They serve Burke, Columbia, Jefferson, McDuffe, Richmond, and Washington counties. They have on-site services that include: SANE exams, support groups, and counseling.
DeKalb Rape Crisis Center, Inc.
204 Church Street
Decatur, GA 30030
They serve DeKalb, Fulton, Henry, Newton, and Rockdale counties. They also offer onsite services such as: support groups, counseling, and SANE exams.
International Woman’s House, Inc.
P.O. Box 1327
Decatur, GA 30031
They service DeKalb county only. They offer on-site services that include support groups and counseling.
Macon, Warner Robins:
Crisis Line & Safe House of Central Georgia, Inc.
915 Hill Park, Suite 100-C
Macon, GA 31201
They serve Bibb, Crawford, Houston, Jones, Monroe, Peach, and Twiggs counties. They have on-site services that include – support groups, counseling, and SANE exams.
RAINN is the largest nationwide network for sexual assault victims and their loved ones. They run the National Sexual Assault Hotline, which victims can call 24/7 for confidential assistance. They also have a free chat function on their website for those who feel more comfortable reaching out for help online. Both the hotline and online chat are completely confidential. They also work to change public policy surrounding sexual assault and run prevention initiatives throughout the country. Their website also has extensive information about what to do in the aftermath of a sexual assault. If you are unsure of where to go for medical care or mental health support in the wake of trauma, RAINN’s first response hotlines are a good place to go.
College Support Centers
If you are a college student, your school may have a support center for those who have been assaulted. Many schools also have affordable clinics and free therapy centers. These services are usually completely confidential. Talk to your school’s general counselors to see what resources are available to you.
What To Do After An Assault
If you’ve been assaulted, it’s important to seek medical treatment as soon as you feel able. Not only is this crucial for your physical well-being, but it can also make things easier if you choose to eventually pursue a legal case against your assailant. If you choose to press charges, you will only have 72 hours to collect viable forensic evidence. From there, you may choose to file a police report and seek legal counsel. It is also very important to seek psychological support for help managing the mental and emotional trauma of sexual assault. Both group and individual therapy can be very beneficial for those who have experienced trauma. There are also many other types of trauma-informed therapy available, such as animal therapy, art classes, yoga, and more. If you do press charges, it is crucial that you have an experienced and trustworthy lawyer to guide you through the case.
Helping Sexual Assault Victims
If your loved one has been a victim of sexual assault, it can be difficult to know how to support them. The best place to start is by believing the victim, and keeping in mind that sexual assault is never the victim’s fault. The next step is to help them find an appropriate crisis center, and help them find medical and legal support. It’s also very important to ask the victim how you can help and respect any decisions they make. Contact our Atlanta sexual assault lawyer today.