While my administration and our community leaders have worked hard to achieve the lowest crime rates Fort Wayne has seen in over 20 years, we need to be ever mindful that sexual assault can still occur. Sexual assault crimes affect every member of our community. Educating our citizens and increasing awareness that there is help available for victims and their families is vitally important.

My Commission on Domestic Violence, Rape and Sexual Harassment and its three Task Forces was created to implement community education and awareness programs for all segments of our community, particularly our youth. The Commission also works to promote and strengthen the interactions among the various agencies which support victims and their families as they go through the legal system. Further, the Commission acts as an advocate for appropriate legislation and judicial reforms that hold sex offenders and abusers accountable for their behavior.

I proclaimed April as Sexual Assault Awareness month in the City of Fort Wayne. As part of the Sexual Assault Awareness campaign, I want to also acknowledge the quality services, volunteers and staff who keep programs aimed towards education and victims’ services going.

In addition, 22 banners were hung throughout downtown Fort Wayne on Wednesday, March 31st and 6 billboards were placed on West Main Street, Maumee Avenue, Broadway and Taylor Streets, North Clinton Street, South Anthony Boulevard and Decatur Road, and Engle and Ardmore Roads. The billboards were placed in conjunction with Burkhart Advertising, Inc.

According to Federal Bureau of Investigation, for every one rape that is reported, 10 go unreported.

The Child Advocacy Center served 331 youths, ages 13 and under, from January through December 2003. The Sexual Assault Treatment Center performed forensic examinations on approximately 132 adults, defined as age 14 or older, and on 103 youths, ages 13 and under.

In 2003, the Fort Wayne Women’s Bureau Rape Awareness Program answered 152 calls on the Rape Crisis Hotline, 326 direct calls were received by the program, and 112 women received on-going individual and group counseling.

In 2003, the City’s Victim Assistance program had 173 sexual assault crimes (adults considered age 15 and older) reported in Allen County. The program tracked 489 reported molestations with children under the age of 14.

The Waynedale News Staff
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