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Survivors of sexual violence can find help through new Seek then Speak program

September 21, 2018

People who have experienced sexual violence in the Spokane area now have an anonymous way to access information and contact law enforcement through a new app, Seek then Speak.

The program, which can be used through its website or mobile app, provides legal definitions of rape, sexual assault and harassment and explains how to report a sexual assault on a college campus, in the military or to the police. Through a step-by-step process, victims, survivors or friends and family members can learn how forensic medical exams and investigations work, when and how to access medical resources and connect with local advocates or file report with law enforcement.

Sgt. Glenn Bartlett with the Spokane Police Department’s Special Victims Unit, said people currently report sexual assault by calling 911 if they are in immediate danger or through Crime Check. He said the Seek then Speak program can generate an email to local law enforcement, or connect reporters directly to advocates if they are not yet ready to come forward.

“Just because they seek resources, doesn’t mean they have to report,” he said. “They can decide what’s best for them.”

He said law enforcement might not respond immediately, so if there is an emergency, people should call 911.

Seek then Speak was brought to Spokane through a partnership between SPD and Lutheran Community Services Northwest, a nonprofit that offers refugee, child welfare and victim advocate services.

Spokane Lutheran Community Services Northwest Director Erin Williams Hueter said the program allows people to seek resources in a way that feels safe and is familiar if they grew up with technology.

“It’s just hard to pick up the phone sometimes,” she said. “especially when it’s your worst moment.”

Bartlett said Seek then Speak is ready to use and traditional avenues, like Crime Check and 911, for emergencies are available as well.

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