Rape Crisis Center in Myrtle Beach reports increase in sexual assault, domestic violence

Local News

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Sexual assault reports across Horry and Georgetown County have gone up during the pandemic, according to the Rape Crisis Center in Myrtle Beach.

New reports obtained by News13 found 66 more sexual assault or domestic violence victims in 2020 than in 2019.

Despite concerns across the country about assault and domestic violence reports being down during the pandemic due to isolation and lack of ability to report, that’s not the case in Myrtle Beach.

The Rape Crisis Center of Horry and Georgetown County is one of 15 facilities across South Carolina. The agency saw an increase in sexual assault reports and the need for services.

April is sexual assault month, and advocacy groups are asking for your support, especially now.

In 2020, there were 387 new sexual assault victims receiving help from the rape crisis center. That number jumped from the 321 victims they saw in 2019.

The South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (SCCADVASA) promotes prevention across the state. The agency’s executive director says the number of victims in 2020 is likely even more significant than reported.

There are many concerns about a rise in child sexual assault while secluded in their homes during COVID-19.

“Children weren’t out in the community, which mean they weren’t interacting with teachers, faith leaders, or people who may have been able to pick up on those troubling signs of child sexual assault,” SCCADVASA’s Executive Director Sara Barber said.

According to the Rape Crisis Center in Myrtle Beach, their agency conducted over 1200 counseling sessions, answered 325 hotline calls, and supplied 500 articles of clothing to sexual assault victims in 2020.

As part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the SCCADVASA is rolling out new prevention efforts to end sexual violence against children and adults.

One of the new platforms the agency has created is a website called ‘Level Up For Change.’ It’s a resource hub with prevention materials for teens, parents, and educators.

The goal is to educate everyone from youth to adults in the community and build a foundation for years to come. New prevention efforts come after the pandemic took away some of the only safe havens people could rely on, such as school, work, or friends, due to social isolation.

If you or someone you know needs help, the sexual assault and domestic violence hotline number but the Rape Crisis Center of Horry and Georgetown County is 843-448-7273.

For more on how to support sexual assault victims and raise awareness, click here.

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