‘We’ve known for months:’ Roanoke agency notices increase in need in line with public safety report

From 2020 to 2021, reported rape in the city of Roanoke went up by 113%

Total Action for Progress says they've experienced double the amount of calls on their hotline, matching up to the city's public safety report.

ROANOKE, Va. – Shocking statistics came out of Tuesday’s Roanoke City Council meeting regarding the 2021 public safety report.

It included data on gun violence, thefts, rape and domestic violence.

The latest data shocked city council members.

“The rape is what really disturbed me,” said Councilwoman Stephanie Moon Reynolds.

But other organizations like Total Action for Progress weren’t as surprised.

10 News spoke with TAP’s Director of Housing and Human Services, Stacey Sheppard to discuss the latest data.

The public safety report shows from 2020 to 2021, reported rapes jumped 113%.

“We’ve seen a huge increase since COVID in the amount of domestic abuse and intimate partner abuse and sexual abuse and just people seeking services in general. So I’m not surprised at all,” said Sheppard.

Domestic violence related aggravated assaults also showed to be on the rise, up by 26%.

TAP says this isn’t a surprise either.

Calls to their hotline have doubled.

“An average day used to be two to three calls on the hotline. We are averaging 8 to 12 calls a day,” said Sheppard.

They hope these startling statistics will help draw attention to the need for additional resources.

“The first thing is to advocate for more victim services folks like us. The people that do the work, who are here to help,” said Sheppard.

Then, hopefully help break the cycle so these numbers aren’t as jarring come next public safety report.

“It’s also opening some eyes, some things are happening with people saying, ‘We’ve got a problem.’ We’ve known for months that we’ve got a problem because we see it, we work it everyday,” said Sheppard.

About the Author:

Sydney joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2021.