MSARC in for big changes in 2010

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - After a rocky 2009, the Mid-South Sexual Assault Resource Center is in for more changes.

Just weeks after MSARC lost its director, Shelby County may move the center to a new location.

Last year, several shifts were unstaffed, leaving victims with no where to turn.  Public pressure forced the City of Memphis' to turn over MSARC to Shelby County last May.

Then, Dr. Betty Winter took over as director.  But less than a year later, she's leaving, which has crisis center employees worried about their future.

Winter's retirement letter says,"I submitted my letter of resignation on January 25, 2010 and will be leaving MSARC to retire this Friday, February 5, 2010."

Winter then describes the rape crisis center as, "a crucial factor to the hope and healing for victims of sexual assault, as well as our community's ability to hold the guilty accountable."

Winter isn't the only moving part in the equation.  Wednesday, Shelby County Commissioners began talks to consider leasing a 2,300 square foot building called the Family Safety Center to create a one-stop-shop for sexual assault victims.

"Memphis Police, Sheriff's Department, District Attorney, other types of victims' support services, it'll all be there," Commissioner Steve Mulroy said.

Along with the Rape Crisis Center, the Crime Victims Center, and the Community Services Agency Self-Sufficiency Program would be housed under one roof, so victims won't have to trek all over town amid a crisis.

"Anybody who is a victim of sexual assault will have caring, compassionate, competent care immediately 24-7, 365 days a year," Mulroy said.

Commissioners have several loose ends to tie up before they can bring this to a vote.

They'll use current grants pay for the project.

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