Today, September 30, 2014, Mayor Mark S. Nexsen signed a proclamation that reads, “in concert with the Lake Havasu City Police Department, the support of the Start By Believing public awareness campaign.” The proclamation also urges citizens of Lake Havasu City to join in efforts to change the nation’s attitudes about sexual violence related crimes.
Start By Believing is a public awareness campaign focused on the public response to sexual assault. The campaign is called Start By Believing because a friend or family member is typically the first person a victim confides in after an assault, and each person’s reaction is the first step in a long path toward justice and healing. A negative response can worsen the trauma and foster an environment where sexual assault predators face zero consequences for their crimes.
On April 15, 2014, the Arizona House of Representatives read a proclamation stating that Arizona is a Start By Believing State, making Arizona the first state to adopt Start By Believing as a whole. The Lake Havasu City Police Department has partnered with H.A.V.E.N.. (Havasu Abuse Victims Education Network) Family Resource Center in order to launch the Start By Believing campaign here in our community.
Dedicated to improving the community’s response to sexual assault, the Lake Havasu City Police Department strives to provide advanced training to the entire staff to guarantee increased knowledge and raised awareness for all victim service delivery. Their strong partnership with victim service providers within the community ensures that they respond appropriately to all victims of abuse and most importantly start by believing.
Research documents that rapists attack an average of six times, which means that one failed response can equal five more victims. Start By Believing will lead the way toward stopping this cycle by creating a positive community response, informing the public, uniting supporters, and improving our own personal reactions. The goal is to change our community and outcomes for victims, one response at a time.
The campaign was developed by the End Violence Against Women International as a way to improve the criminal justice and community response to gender-based violence. You can view their website at http://www.evawintl.org/. A Start By Believing educational slideshow is also available on the police department’s website at www.LHCPD.com