BECKLEY, WV (WVNS)–The way the public can view criminal complaints involving sex crimes is now changing to protect the victims.

West Virginia Senate Bill 616 went into effect at the start of June. The bill aims to help victims of sexual abuse and assault remain anonymous. But a common misconception surrounding the details of the bill is that it shields the accused.

Chad Lilly, Assitant Prosecutor with Raleigh County, says the bill is only specific to the victims – and not the accused.

“It’s offered to protect victims. And what it does is it requires victims’ names to be shown by initials instead of the full name,” Lilly said.

It also does more than shield the victim from the public, it helps future cases to hopefully encourage victims to come forward.

Scott Miller, Executive Director with the Just for Kids Child Advocacy Center in Beckley shared a shocking statistic about children who disclose information about their abuse.

“Only one in ten children tell about their abuse. So, last year, we did about 300 interviews. If that statistic is correct, there are actually 3,000 children likely who were abused in Raleigh and Fayette County,” Miller said.

And Detective Nicole Pinardo, who mainly deals with sex crimes at the Beckley Police Department said she’s seen an uptick in cases dealing with sexual assault.

“Total about as far as abuse goes and the internet crimes I would say it’s been on the rise unfortunately but per month, I think this last month I had seven cases,” Pinardo said.

Miller said he hopes this bill will make it safer for people who were sexually assaulted or abused to have the courage to now come forward.