In order to escape accountability for his crimes, the perpetrator does everything in his power to promote forgetting. If secrecy fails, the perpetrator attacks the credibility of his victim. If he cannot silence her absolutely, he tries to make sure no one listens.Judith Lewis Herman
overview of the project
The DV Commission will coordinate an Audit of how agencies in Whatcom County respond to sexual assault in cases involving casual acquaintances with victims age 16 and older. This Sexual Assault Audit will identify needs of sexual assault survivors, strengths and gaps in how local agencies respond to survivors, and practices that best support justice for survivors. Findings from the Audit will be shared with local agency leaders, and the DV Commission will lead a task force to prioritize and implement recommendations.
audit team & data collection
The DV Commission will lead a Sexual Assault Audit Team with representatives from Lummi Victims of Crime, Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services (DVSAS), Western Washington University, Whatcom Community College, Bellingham Police Department, Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, Whatcom County Prosecutor’s Office, St. Joseph’s Hospital, KPO Counseling, and Compass Health. The Audit Team will collect and analyze data from local focus groups, interviews, observations, and texts to better understand sexual assault survivor needs from the justice system, as well as gaps and strengths in how local agencies respond.
national demonstration with praxis international
Praxis International has selected the DV Commission and Whatcom County as their National Demonstration Site for purposes of adapting their Safety and Accountability Audit process and toolkit for Sexual Assault Audits; the Audit process was initially designed for Domestic Violence Audits.
- Sexual Assault National Demonstration Audit (SANDA) Overview
- What is a Safety Audit? A 15-minute overview video by Praxis International
- Webinar featuring three communities that conducted sexual assault-focused Safety Audits
- DV Commission’s Safety Audit Reports of domestic violence responses in Whatcom County
- Report from Duluth, Minnesota’s Safety Audit of the response to Native women who report rape
- Report from Missoula, Montana’s Safety Audit of community responses to sexual assault
This project is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.