• Victim center says sex assaults on the rise in Orange County


    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - The number of sexual assaults and rapes reported in Orange County are on pace to exceed those of last year.

    Victim Services Center of Central Florida advocates are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Officials said they responded to six cases on Friday.
    Channel 9's Nancy Alvarez looked into what experts believe is behind the increase.
    On Friday deputies responded to the Affinity at Winter Park apartment complex, where a young woman was sexually battered by a man who forced his way into her apartment.
    Advocates from the Victim Service Center responded as well.
    Victim Service Center Executive Director Lui Damiani told Alvarez that the case at the complex turned out to be one of six sexual attack cases the center responded to in Orange County on Friday. 
    "It's the single biggest spike we've seen in one day in the history of us tracking data," said Damiani.
    Damiani said a spike in one day is rare, but cases do appear to be on the rise.
    According to the center, there were 72 sexual assaults in Orange County in the first six months of 2013. In the same time period this year, there have been 103 -- a 30 percent increase.
    Damiani said it might be due to more victims coming forward.
    "We're working hard to make sure the message is this is not tolerable in our community," said Damiani.
    Two cases on Friday were attacks by strangers. In the other four, center officials said, the victims knew their attackers.
    But all will receive the same level of assistance from the center, not just now but possibly for months and years to come.
    "Whatever it takes to get that individual back to some sense of normalcy, that's what our agency is here for," said Damiani.

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