MOCSA updates council on sexual assault efforts

city-hallApril is national sex assault awareness month, and Wednesday an official with the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault reported  to the city council public safety committee.

MOCSA started in 1975 and covers the entire metropolitan area. It has 38 employees, a $3.2 million budget, and 500 volunteers (and needs more), said Julie Donelon, its president and CEO.

Among its programs is a 24-hour hospital response operation to assist victims, she said. More than 80 percent of those 704 victims last year, she said, were at hospitals in Jackson County.

Among other items in her report:

Half of all sexual assaults involve alcohol, which is the number one date rape drug.

About eight of 10 of victims of sexual assault are under age 30.

One in six women will be a victim at some time in life and one in 33 men.

Councilman John Sharp said, “I personally don’t think the public is as aware as it should be of how prevalent this is.”

More than four of five sexual assaults are not reported.

Each sexual assault costs society about $160,000 for such things as medical care, police and prosecution.

Committee members clashing over whether to eliminate city liquor card permits for workers drew Donelon into that debate, which is expected to erupt Thursday at the full council meeting.

Councilman Scott Taylor asked her if she supported continuing the cards, which cannot be obtained by felons like sex offenders and murderers.

Donelon said it seemed a small price to pay if it can stop a violent predator.

Councilman Scott Wagner, who is against the cards, asked if she had any information about how often other bar patrons, as opposed to bartenders and other liquor workers, commit sex crimes.

She did not.

She did say how to volunteer for the organization for such things as helping victims at hospitals or presenting programs at schools.

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