From EVAWI ...
Residents of Spokane, Washington, now know more about how to get help for sexual assault survivors, thanks to the joint efforts of Lutheran Community Services Northwest Spokane (LCSNW) and the Spokane Police Department in promoting Seek Then Speak and Victim Link. According to Jenn Davis Nielsen, Advocacy Supervisor, with LCSNW in Spokane.
“More people are getting the information and support they need, regardless of the number of survivors who go through the entire process and submit a report,” she said.
The Spokane Police Department and LCSNW agree the new program creates a win for survivors – providing comprehensive information at their fingertips, in a way that is comfortable for them, any time, day or night.
"Seek Then Speak is an incredible tool that offers survivors the ability to regain power and control over their next steps. Healing is not linear, and survivors deserve the opportunity to move at their own pace when navigating their options. LCS Northwest is excited to offer this new resource for survivors in partnership with the Spokane Police Department and End Violence Against Women International," said Ligeia DeVleming, Director of Victim Advocacy & Education, Lutheran Community Services Northwest.
When signs began appearing around Spokane warning that women were being drugged at a local bar, LCSNW took this opportunity to inform the community about available resources for sexual assault survivors, including Seek Then Speak.
As LCSNW Director Erin Williams explained in an interview with a TV news reporter, Seek Then Speak can help create more choices for victims of sexual assault “to regain power, to feel empowered, to explore” and to educate themselves in their own time and in their own way.
In short, Seek Then Speak helps survivors to take the first steps toward seeking help and provides them with an alternative way to report to police should they choose to do so.
Giving Victims a Voice
Sgt. Glenn Bartlett with the Spokane Police Department also observed that it is therapeutic for victims to have a way to share what happened to them and Seek then Speak offers an excellent avenue for survivors to be heard.
"There are times when the justice system moves much slower than anyone would like." Bartlett said. "Seek Then Speak is a way to connect survivors to services while the investigation is occurring. A survivor can receive the support to start the healing process sooner."
Start by Believing
Seek Then Speak was developed as a natural complement to EVAWI’s Start by Believing awareness campaign. Start by Believing was designed to encourage supportive responses to victims of sexual assault, helping to reduce barriers to reporting sexual assault and increasing victim access to community services. Together, Seek Then Speak and Start by Believing will help to equip communities with resources, and empower survivors to speak and reach out for help.
Interested in learning more about Seek then Speak? Visit seekthenspeak.org for more details. One year, no-cost subscriptions are still available for Victim Link if you’d like to try this out in your community. For more information on the grant, visit www.victimlink.com/nocost.