COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The city of Columbus has faced more than 1,000 reported cases of sexual assault throughout 2018, police say.
Convicted sex offenders can face up to 25 years to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Sex crimes are illegal acts that are committed without consent of the victim, against his or her will.
If convicted of rape in Georgia and Alabama, offenders are required to register as a sex offender and have restrictions placed on where they can live.
Lt. Joyce Dent-Fitzpatrick with the Columbus Police Department’s Special Victims Unit says they have even noticed when it comes to sex crimes, judges do not take it lightly, especially when children are involved.
“We are seeing an uptick on the punishment from the judges so a lot of what’s going on in America now, you have the #metoo movement, you have a lot of people coming out stating that they have been sexually assaulted as children and those are harder to work on, but we still work on those as well and we have a lot of support groups,”said Lt. Dent-Fitzpatrick.
“We really encourage parents to talk to their children about inappropriate, inappropriate language in sexual assaults because when we have to sit their and tell a victim what rape is and they say oh I thought rape was kissing and touching me no rape is not that.”-said Dent-Fitzpatrick
Under Georgia and Alabama law, sex crimes against children 16 years or younger include child molestation, aggravated child molestation, statutory rape, sexual exploitation of minors and child pornography.
Lt. Dent-Fitzpatrick says it is important for everyone who thinks they are a victim of sexual to speak out.
“It’s best to have it documented and then for future reference, we can say, well this happened two years ago and here it is happening again, so we have something like a similar transaction to go off of and then we start to investigate those types of cases,” said Lt. Dent-Fitzpatrick.