A total of 43 individuals sought help at the Kodiak Women’s Resource and Crisis Center after experiencing situations involving sexual assault or domestic violence in January, according to KWRCC staff. Of these individuals, two were seeking help after a sexual assault, two after incidents of stalking and thirty nine after experiencing some form of domestic abuse.
Additionally, 66 individuals made calls to the center’s crisis line. These calls nearly always relate to either sexual assault or domestic violence, said KWRCC Executive Director Rebecca Shields.
“Some of them will follow up with services and some of them are just calling to talk,” Shields said.
Kodiak Police Department received five reports of incidents involving sexual assault and ten reports of incidents involving domestic violence in January, according to KPD staff.
Kodiak-based Alaska State Troopers received reports of two sexual assaults, both of which were domestic violence related. There were five additional domestic violence-related cases, according to data provided by the Alaska Department of Public Safety.
While the number of calls made to KWRCC was slightly above what it’s been in recent months, Shields said that KWRCC is anticipating even more calls now that it has kicked off its new Teen Crisis Line. Shields said she is hoping that, with a designated line, more young people will get in touch with KWRCC when they are in need of help.
The new crisis line was launched at the end of February and is manned 24 hours a day by three trained advocates from KWRCC. It is specifically aimed at youth affected by sexual assault, violence, harassment or other related issues. One of the main elements of the line is that it can be used completely anonymously.
“That’s the way people can talk to us confidentially before deciding if they want to come in and receive services,” Shields said.
While Shields hopes that the emphasis on confidentiality will encourage more young people to call, she added that all KWRCC staff are mandatory reporters of child abuse.
“If we become aware of a child in danger, then we need to report that to law enforcement or child’s services or both,” she said, though she added that peer-on-peer violence is not included in this definition.
“We’re encouraging people to keep their identities confidential until they’ve had a chance to air their concerns. It gives us a chance to let them know what the resources are that they have access to in town, so they have a chance to make a decision on what they want to do,” Shields said. “This is our attempt to really encourage them to call, because this a safe way for them to access help –– that’s what the goal is.”
Teenagers experiencing any of these issues can either call or text 942-9015 to talk with a trained advocate from the KWRCC.
Editor’s note: This article is part of a monthly series that will provide the numbers of cases involving sexual assault and domestic violence from the previous month, as well as interviews with local responders on the different elements of the issue.