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City of Prescott Adopts "Start by Believing Campaign" to Improve Response to Sexual Violence

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

The Prescott City Council adopted the Start by Believing campaign by proclamation today to raise awareness and improve community response to sexual violence within the City of Prescott.

Start by Believing is a campaign created by End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI) uniquely focused on the criminal justice response to sexual assault. Its goal is to support victims of sexual violence who bravely come forward to seek justice and healing. Concerns about "believability" of a victim's story are often cited as a reason for them not to report.

"Our police department is deeply committed to the objectives of the Start by Believing campaign," said Prescott Police Chief Jerald Monahan. "We want everyone in the community to know that if they are a victim of sexual violence that our department will support and believe them when they report a sexual violence crime. The Start by Believing Campaign can make this community safer for all."

According to Kathryn Chapman, Director of the Yavapai Family Advocacy Center, "The Start by Believing Campaign focuses on changing the negative responses victims of sexual assault often hear, to reactions that are supportive and compassionate. A victim is more likely to come forward if they feel supported and believed and more likely to seek services."

National Center for Injury Prevention and Control found that nearly one in five women reported experience rape at some time in their lives. The Justice Department, National Crime Victimization Survey: 2006-2010 found that 54 percent of sexual assaults go unreported. According to EVAWI, research shows that rapists attack on average six times. One failed response can equal five more victims.

There were 14 sexual assaults reported to Prescott Police Department in 2012. Start by Believing was launched during Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April 2011 in conjunction with the International Conference on Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence and Stalking hosted by EVAWI on April 11-13 in Chicago. The campaign featured unique messaging and campaign materials, web and social media outreach and opportunities for corporate partnership and support. Click here for more information about the Start by Believing Campaign.

For more information, contact Lieutenant Ken Morley Special Operations Bureau at 928-777-1942.