The NYPD sexual assault caseload has increased by 28 percent, forcing Special Victims Unit to recruit over 30 new people to help investigate rising reports.
The New York Police Department has seen a considerable rise in the number of sexual assault complaints just one year after the #MeToo movement started.
The caseload has increased 28 percent over the last 12 months, forcing the Special Victims Unit, the NYPD unit tasked with investigating rape and sexual assault, to recruit over 30 new people to help investigate the rising reports.
Dermot Shea, NYPD chief of detectives, stated at a press conference that despite the higher numbers they’re taking every matter seriously. “Every rape complaint that comes to us is investigated,” said Shea. “We have a victim-centric model that we’ve really been pushing.”
The figures for September alone were up 22 percent, with over half of all offenses reported to have been committed by an acquaintance. Only seven percent of the reported rapes were carried out by a stranger, and an overall 24 percent of the total number of offenses were for past assaults.
Both the police force and Mayor Bill de Blasio have said it doesn’t matter when the incident took place, and that they urge people to come forward. “Acknowledging the horrible number of sexual assaults against women that have been tragically inappropriately the norm for too long in this country must stop,” de Blasio said.
The news comes as Time’s Up Now organization announces they’re using their $22 million legal defense fund to team up with some of the country’s best lawyers to help victims bring their assailants to justice. A network of over 300 women from across the entertainment industry, Time’s Up Now pledges to help women across the workforce come forward and tackle incidents of sexual assault.
Fatima Goss Graves, president of the National Women’s Law Center, which administers the fund, told Associated Press how access to legal representation is changing the imbalance in the workplace and is encouraging more people to feel comfortable enough to come forward. “We’ve helped people bring cases they could not have brought otherwise,” she said. “People know they have a place to turn to… We can make it a reality that no matter where you work, you can work safely and with dignity.”