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Santa Cruz PD hosts first annual "Start By Believing" campaign

Santa Cruz Police launch initiative to battle sexual assault

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - UPDATE 04/04/18 5:40PM The Santa Cruz Police Department is partnering with the Commission for the Prevention of Violence Against Women to launch a public awareness campaign that focuses on improving the public's response to sexual assault. 

SCPD hosted the first annual "Start By Believing Campaign" in Santa Cruz and invited the community to sign a pledge to "Start By Believing" victims of sexual assault. Something District Attorney Jeff Rosell says is a big reason only one in five sexual assault victims come forward, "It is difficult for a whole host of reasons social reasons, family reasons, for victims of sexual assault come forward. And part of it is this fear that they will not be believed, this fear that they won't be safe, and will be judged or blamed."

"The Start By Believing Campaign is designed to create a positive community response; informing the public, uniting allies and supporters, and improving our personal reactions," said SCPD spokesperson Joyce Blaschke. 

Brooke Newman wih the commission for Prevention of Violence Against Women says we need to change the culture around sexual assault as a whole, "Our culture unfortunately naturally asks the victim, well what did you do, what were you wearing, how much did you drink? Why were you out that late. It's kind of part of this zeitgeist. And we need to shift that."

Thats where this campaign comes in Newman says, it's a way for the public to learn how to respond to victims, "Listen to them, hear what they have to say, and to have the knowledge to offer them support from services that are local. And say I know about Monarch services, I know about Walnut Avenue women and Family Center, I know if you don't feel comfortable going to lawn force meant right now these are two agencies that are going to assist you."

Even if a victim has not spoken out in the past, Newman says it's never too late, "a sexual predator tends to strike 6 times. So if the first victim doesn't turn to a friend or anybody there's a chance that person is going to go and strike another person."

There are several service in Santa Cruz that are offered to victims of abuse, for Monarch Services click here and for Walnut Avenue Family and Women's Center click here.

 

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The Santa Cruz Police Department is partnering with the Commission for the Prevention of Violence Against Women to launch a public awareness campaign that focuses on improving the public's response to sexual assault. 

SCPD hosted the first annual "Start By Believing Campaign" in Santa Cruz and invited the community to sign a pledge to "Start By Believing" victims of sexual assault. 

"The Start By Believing Campaign is designed to create a positive community response; informing the public, uniting allies and supporters, and improving our personal reactions," said SCPD spokesperson Joyce Blaschke. 

KION's Ashley Keehn has the full story at 5 and 6 p.m. on KION 5,46. 


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