89.1 WEMU

Washtenaw County Joins Campaign To Change The Way Sexual Assault Victims Are Treated

Apr 6, 2016

Start By Believing Campaign Logo
Credit Courtesy Photo / startbybelieving.org

Washtenaw County will soon become the first in the state to pledge to end victim-blaming in sexual assault cases. 

 

SafeHouse Center in Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan Police Department are leading the Start By Believing campaign, which aims to change the way first responders treat sexual assault survivors.

Barbara Niess-May is the Director of SafeHouse Center in Ann Arbor. She says every police agency in the county has joined the campaign.

“A campaign that’s intended to encourage people who are first responders to start by believing instead of asking a million questions or wondering how they could have prevented it or did it really happen in the first place?”

SafeHouse Center will provide training to police agencies and hospitals that make a request. The organization was also recently awarded $40,000 by Pittsfield Township for operations over the next four years.“There is domestic violence not only in Pittsfield Township, but every community in Washtenaw County.", Neiss-May says. "Pittsfield Township leadership wanted to make sure that SafeHouse Center had the resources to provide support for [sexual assault] survivors.”

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— Amanda LeClaire is a reporter for 89.1 WEMU News.  Contact her at 734.487.3363 or email her aleclair@emich.edu