SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - To better serve victims of rape and sexual assault, the Rape Crisis Center of the Coastal Empire will be moving into a bigger space later this year.
We're learning this week the local non-profit closed on the property and will likely move in sometime this fall. This is a move long overdue for the victim advocacy group whose work extends well beyond counseling and recovery for victims of sexual assault.
It's crimes like what happened earlier this week - the rape of a woman during a home invasion off DeRenne Avenue - that highlights the importance of the Rape Crisis Center's work. The center's outreach and education programs focus on things like self-defense, anti-bullying, and teaching children appropriate relationships in seven Coastal Georgia counties.
"We've essentially tripled our organization's outreach in programs, so this new space will provide for an opportunity - one - for us to welcome our survivors into a space that's conducive to healing, as well as a space that's safe with adequate parking - and in a space that they can easily gain access to," said RCC Executive Director, Kesha Gibson-Carter. "It has increased the number of individuals coming in for independent, private counseling sessions as well as our support groups. They've really taken off, so as we become more well-known in the community, the need for our services has increased, and we are excited to be able to be poised to expand on our core mission, to provide resources and advocacy to victims of sexual assault and rape as well as prevention education to youth and adults in our community."
Gibson-Carter said over the last five years, their staff has also grown from 12 to 26 workers.
The Rape Crisis Center also supports training for registered nurses who want to become Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners. They do forensic medical exams of rape victims and document evidence that goes into rape kits that are sent to the GBI for analysis.
The RCC does own their current office space, so that will be up for sale as they transition into the new location here in town.