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The Broken Arrow Police Department is now participating in a nationwide campaign that encourages sexual assault victims to report the crime to law enforcement.
The campaign is named Start By Believing because the first person a victim confides in after experiencing a sexual assault or rape is typically a trusted friend or family member. How that person reacts determines in large part what happens next. The victim may or may not be encouraged and empowered to pursue justice and seek much needed support and assistance.
Knowing how to respond is critical—a negative response can worsen the trauma and foster an environment where sexual assault predators escape consequences for their crime. The result may enable a predator to negatively impact the lives of as many as six innocent victims.
By promoting the Start By Believing message, our goal is to set an example in our community that says when someone is sexually assaulted, we will start by believing the victim and so should you. Positive support is critical for victims to become engaged – and remain engaged – in the criminal justice system. Our goal is to improve personal reactions and change outcomes for victims, one response at a time.
This commitment does not change the objective approach required to be a credible professional, nor does it affect our ability to conduct a thorough investigation. We know, however, that traumatized victims often recall information in a manner that may not reflect the chronology seen with other types of investigations. A thorough investigation must therefore ensure that the person is treated with compassion and respect, and that all matters are taken into consideration. We understand that by improving the response we will strengthen the criminal justice system.
The Broken Arrow Police Department is proud to make the commitment and encourage you also to Start By Believing.