Start By Believing Day

Submission of Rape Kits Must Continue to Increase

Media Statement
 
For Immediate Release:
April 12, 2016
 
Contact:      Elizabeth Converse, Communications Director
                    Utah House Democratic Caucus
                    801-835-7087 | econverse@le.utah.gov
 
House Democrat Urges Continued Work on Submission of Rape Kits
 
Salt Lake City
- House Democratic Representative Angela Romero urged continued work on submission of rape kits in Utah following a release of a BYU study finding that those submissions were dramatically lower than most other states.

She said, “This finding is an issue that many people involved in the Sexual Assault Kit Processing Work Group have been working on for several years. The group has created ways for local and state agencies to properly and professionally offer support to victims of sexual assault, including lowering the backlog of rape kits in Utah. The low submission numbers are a symptom of a problem across our state - that victims are not currently protected by a system that was created to do so.
 
We’ve seen a dramatic increase in attention to this issue, including the state’s Start By Believing day and appropriations allocated to testing unprocessed rape kits. This needs to be a top priority to everyone in our state, for health and public safety. I will work closely with my colleagues to make sure this happens. I appreciate the attention the report has brought to an issue we have struggled to solve for so long. It is our duty as elected officials to ensure that ALL rape kits are tested in a timely manner. I am committed to creating policy that will enact this change.”
 
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Join us to celebrate Start By Believing Day

Media Advisory

For Immediate Release: April 5, 2016

Contact:    Elizabeth Converse, Communications Director
                        Utah House Democratic Caucus
                        801-835-7087 | econverse@le.utah.gov

New Campaign Calls for Better Response to Survivors of Rape and Sexual Assault

Salt Lake City - Wednesday, April 6th, at 10 am, Representative Angela Romero will lead a press conference to highlight “Start By Believing Day”, a state holiday that recognizes sexual assault as a violent crime with devastating safety and health implications for every person in Utah. This year, Representative Romero was able to secure $600,000.00 in funding for these issues.

Who:    Representative Angela Romero
    Julie Valentine, BYU Assistant Teaching Professor
    Alana Kindness, UCASA Executive Director
What:    Start By Believing Day, Appropriations for Sexual Assault  Issues
Where:    Utah State Capitol Building, South Steps, 350 State St, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
When:    Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. 

Additional Information

The Start By Believing campaign aims to raise awareness of the role that individuals can have in improving outcomes for sexual assault survivors, based on research showing that (1) When loved ones react negatively to a victim’s disclosure of sexual assault, it has a damaging effect on victims – over and above the traumatic impact of the sexual assault, (2) By improving our reactions, victims benefit both directly – and also indirectly, by increasing the likelihood that they will reach out for other sources of support, and (3) Improving our response can even help the criminal justice system to hold sexual assault perpetrators accountable for their crimes.


Speakers at the press event will include Julie Valentine, Assistant Teaching Professor at Brigham Young University College of Nursing, whose 2014 study revealed consistently low prosecution rates for rape cases in Salt Lake County. She has since worked with West Valley City Police Department to develop and evaluate new protocols for sexual assault investigations. Alana Kindness, Executive Director of the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault, will highlight the steps that survivors, advocates, educators and law enforcement have taken in communities throughout Utah to ensure that victims of rape and sexual assault receive the services needed to support healing and restore safety. 
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