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Rape Crisis Center receives donated phones for victims

The Rape Crisis Center recently received another boost to help victims: Cricket Wireless contributed a dozen smartphones with six months of free service.

The phones are important, as some victims have phones stolen during an assault or the phones are taken as evidence by law enforcement, said Rape Crisis Center development coordinator Carmella Gadsen.

“A lot of times the assailant is someone that (the victim) knows,” Gadsen said, “so there could be text messages from the perpetrator; there could be pictures on the phone which could help the police.”

Crisis Center advocates meet victims at the hospital, support them through the forensic exam and continually follow up.

“Being able to connect with victims for follow-up, for them to get updates from law enforcement, and to connect with family and friends for support after an assault are all crucial,” said Daniele Dreitzer, executive director of the Rape Crisis Center.

The phone models were Samsung Grand Prime, LG Stylo and HTC 636 Desire. The phones will be made available to victims while they’re at the hospital.

Metro officer Jay Rivera said any phone taken as evidence might not be returned for months. In addition to fingerprints, the “guts” of the phone needed to be looked at.

Dreitzer said the phone-loan idea came from Medina and Summit counties in Ohio; a rape-crisis group in the latter had partnered with a Cricket outlet there.

“Not having a means of communication after an assault is so challenging. You can’t connect to your support system, there’s no way for law enforcement to get in touch with you, you can’t reach out for help. And so many people don’t have land lines anymore,” she said. “Their cellphone is their sole means of communication.”

The Rape Crisis Center will recycle phones onceusers are done with them, Dreitzer said.

Contact Jan Hogan at jhogan@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2949.

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