Sedona AZ (April 10, 2018) – April is Sexual Assault Awareness month and the Verde Valley Sanctuary is proud to launch a dynamic new resource tool for victims of sexual assault called Seek Then Speak. This web, phone, or mobile app helps survivors confidentially gather information, explore options, and take action when they’re ready. Survivors can seamlessly engage with local recovery and reporting resources.
Seek Then Speak is available in many languages to increase victim access. If they choose, victims can begin the process of reporting the crime directly to law enforcement and can request supportive services from victim advocacy organizations such as the Verde Valley Sanctuary. The program helps close gaps in service delivery and promotes justice and healing.
“As few as one in five sexual assault victims report the crime,” said Lisa Davis, Outreach Director of the Verde Valley Sanctuary. “To help victims recover and support their participation in the criminal justice process, we need to make it easier for them to reach out for help. Seek Then Speak links victims to the professionals who stand ready to serve them.” Seek Then Speak was developed to help end the silence for sexual assault victims. Victims and their support people connect to Seek Then Speak by web, phone, or mobile app. The program engages them with gradual, supportive dialogue prompts, using an intelligent communication platform. The process helps survivors better understand what happened and explore their options, while remaining anonymous until they choose to make direct contact with law enforcement or victim advocates. “Through Seek Then Speak, survivors of sexual assault have a safe way to make sense of their experience and decide what their next steps will be,” Davis said. “They learn they are not alone, and that help is available. Then they can reach out for that help if they choose, but only if and when they are ready.”
Seek Then Speak works in partnership with an agency platform called Victim Link, which was co-developed by Ten8Tech and End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI). Victim Link combines technology and education to improve community responses to sexual assault. The programs also coordinate with Start by Believing, the campaign that prepares friends and family members to respond appropriately to a sexual assault disclosure. Together, they offer a two-part solution for responding to sexual assault victims.
“When someone tells you they were sexually assaulted, the first step is to Start by Believing,” Davis said. “We are pleased that the City of Sedona, the Town of Camp Verde and the Town of Clarkdale have all declared the first Wednesday of April ‘Start by Believing Day’. Serving victims of assault and abuse is a complex issue that requires extensive collaboration and support from the community. The addition of the Seek Then Speak resource is one more tool in our tool kit to connect victims with resources from the privacy of their home or phone. Seek then Speak can be accessed on the Verde Valley Sanctuary Website at www.VerdeValleySanctuary.org or by calling 888-865-9863 or downloading the mobile app (Android and iOS).
The Verde Valley Sanctuary is dedicated to assisting, protecting and empowering victims of abuse and sexual assault. We have been serving the Verde Valley for 25 years offering a 24-Hour Hotline: (800) 930-7233, a 28 Bed safe shelter for victims of abuse, support services in three locations (Sedona, Cottonwood and Camp Verde) and community education and prevention programs. Visit our website for more info: www.VerdeValleySanctuary.org
Funding for the Verde Valley Sanctuary Services comes from public and private grants, revenue from the Twice Nice store on 89A in Sedona, the Twice Nice Thriftique in Cottonwood and the generosity of private donors and businesses. To learn more about how you can support the important work of the Verde Valley Sanctuary please contact, Jennifer Perry at email@example.com or call (928) 301-0166.