Protect victims of sexual assault

Detective M.C. Williams

Dear Editor,

With April designated as “Sexual Assault Prevention Month,” the Garfield County Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Task Force has asked us help educate folks as to law enforcement’s response to sexual assault and related crimes.

Colorado law mandates that school officials, Social Service workers, and health care providers notify the appropriate police agency of any suspected sexual assault. We will then immediately contact victims to assess the incident, gather important facts, provide protection, and make sure that they receive the emotional and medical support they need.

In Garfield County, law enforcement personnel will arrange transportation to a hospital (currently Valley View in Glenwood Springs) where nurses with specific training in the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) protocol are available to assist them. SANE nurses are charged with helping to properly gather and preserve critical forensic evidence in the most professional, compassionate, and caring manner possible.

Meanwhile, we will be taking steps to provide for the victim’s protection and, once identified, see that the offender is arrested and charged accordingly. Mental health support will be made available and confidential, alternative lodging arrangements can be made through the Advocate Safehouse Project or similar service agency. Spanish language support is also available.

As peace officers, our goal is to provide caring and compassionate support to victims of sexual assault, while at the same time doing everything we can to gather critical evidence and information so that offenders can be apprehended before they have the chance to hurt anyone else.

We encourage anyone who has been the victim of sexual assault to contact their nearest law enforcement agency immediately.

In service,

Detective M.C. Williams

Silt Police Department

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