Law Enforcement Receive Training to Improve Response to Sexual Assault

COLUMBIA- Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands (STSM) will train more than 40 members of the law enforcement community today to improve the law enforcement response to sexual assault cases.

STSM received funding from the Office on Violence Against Women to help fulfill two recommendations resulting from a 2008 assessment of services to sexual assault victims in South Carolina entitled “Against Their Will”:   (1) To improve law enforcement compassion for and communication with victims because victims in the assessment felt judged, blamed, and disbelieved and did not get the information they needed when they did report; and (2) To improve the law enforcement investigatory process and increase the rate of prosecution of sexual assault perpetrators because only a small percentage of perpetrators are found guilty of the crime.

In regards to the training, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott stated, “sexual assault victims need all of us and especially law enforcement to be their advocates.  We must all work together to prevent sexual assaults; or if one occurs encourage victims to report the assault.  By working together with Sexual Trauma Services we can mutually combat this terrible crime.”

Information about future trainings, including the Law Enforcement training in Sumter, can be found online at www.stsm.org/calendar.

Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands (STSM), formerly named Rape Crisis Network, is a private, nonprofit, United Way member agency committed to providing free, direct services to survivors of sexual assault and abuse, including 24-hour crisis hotline, hospital accompaniment, court accompaniment, personal advocacy, individual and group counseling, and education about sexual trauma issues.