MEMPHIS, Tenn. — County commissioners want to give the Rape Crisis Center more money to help victims, but they can’t agree on how the money should be spent.
Commissioner Walter Bailey is calling out the Rape Crisis Center for not having an actual doctor on staff, but the folks at the clinic say they can’t afford one, because they need that money for processing rape kits and preparing for future court cases.
Bailey also works as a lawyer. He represents several rape victims who say they’re not satisfied with the services at the Rape Crisis Center.
“They didn’t feel that they got the appropriate attention after having undergone such a dramatic experience as rape,” he said.
He thinks having a PhD or MD on staff would help.
“I think we would be prepared to fund an additional person if that person is a clinical psychiatrist,” Bailey said.
Administrators at the Rape Crisis Center say they currently have to two councilors with masters degrees, and in their opinion, that’s plenty of training. Director Dottie Jones says the center would need $175,000 a year from the county to pay a doctor.
“f you were to tell me that there were additional funds available, I would not necessarily put having a licensed psychologist at the top of that list,” Jones said.
Jones says they processed more than 650 rape kits last year. And as the city and county works through a backlog of more than 12,000 untested rape kits, they will need more nurses and advocates to help testify in court.
Bailey says he thinks the center does a great job, but they could do a better one with more trained staff.
“They are seeking help when they go to the rape crisis center. Professional help,” he said.
Bailey and other commissioners criticized the city and county mayors for not giving this center and the problem of rape in Memphis the attention it deserves. Bailey says the area is facing a lot of problems, but this is one of the biggest.