According to the Naples Daily News: While crime reports, in general, are on the decline in Naples and the greater Collier County area, sexual assault and aggravated assault reports are reaching all-time highs. According to data from state and local law enforcement agencies (specifically the FDLE), sexual assault and aggravated assault crimes are up from a low 17.1 percent of all crimes at the end of 2015, to a staggeringly high rate of 82 percent of all reported crimes in 2017. You can find the FDLE statistics HERE.
2017 Sexual Assault Reports Breakdown
While reports of sexual assault may have remained in the single digits in Naples this year, they also rose to 82% of all reported crime in the area. This overall increase in the percentage of sexual assault crimes in Naples was enough to spark the interests of several victims advocacy groups such as Project HELP (a major advocacy not-for-profit organization that provides free and confidential resources to victims of sexually charged and violent crimes).
An Upward Trend in Reporting Sexual Assault Incidents
One of the hardest parts about providing help to sexual assault victims is that is often difficult for those who have been assaulted to come forward and report the abuse. Sexual assault cases come with all kinds of (albeit entirely justified) emotional baggage. This makes it hard to get a totally accurate statistic on the actual number of sexual assault cases that happen annually. But, recently, there is a markable upward trend in the number of people coming forward and reporting sexual assault crimes.
Advocacy Groups Like Project HELP are Helping Reduce Sexual Assault Incidents
Thanks to advocacy groups like Project HELP, many more victims are feeling empowered enough to come forward and to face their abusers. Eileen Wesley, executive director of Project HELP has even been quoted as saying:
“A lot of our increase is people that are calling, saying, ‘When I was younger, this happened to me and I need help. I’ve been dealing with it, holding it inside, never told anybody before.’… And we’re seeing a lot of that coming through our phones and our helpline.” – Eileen Wesley, Executive Director of Project HELP