Survey being conducted on abuse victims' experiences

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Shelly Birkelo
Friday, April 4, 2014

BELOIT—The Sexual Assault Recovery Program is conducting a survey in Rock County to see if victims of sexual assault and domestic violence are getting the necessary services for recovery.

SARP created the survey, which it began circulating in March. Participants can take the survey during the next six months with results published two months after that.

"We want everybody and anybody to take it because we want to know about their experiences with different (legal, medical and law enforcement) systems and if they felt safe and comfortable disclosing information,” said Kelsey M. Hood, SARP volunteer and outreach coordinator of Beloit.

Hood said the survey also asks people if they are aware of victim advocacy services available in the county or if more promotion is needed.

Along with mailing the surveys, SARP has also delivered them to churches, neighborhoods, and families, and to a recent event at Blackhawk Technical College.

In addition to victims and their loved ones, surveys are being given to “whomever we come in contact with,” Hood said.

Hood said she would like every adult in Rock County to take the survey, but she'll settle for as many people as possible.

“Their perceptions and experiences are valuable information so to get as many as we can get is awesome,” she said.

Hood said it's important to show the community SARP seeks improvements within Rock County.

“It (sexual assault and domestic abuse) happens here," she said. "We do want to improve services providers are offering, and this is something we as a community need to be talking about.”

The survey takes around 15 minutes to complete and each of its five sections is divided into these systems: information on the person taking it and whether the person is a victim, loved one or community member; medical services; law enforcement—prosecution and victim witness, and advocacy services.

There are two sections within each system, Hood said. One is geared to the victim and the other is directed to the secondary victim, such as a loved one or family member.

Survey participants can remain anonymous even if they would like to provide an interview in conjunction with the survey or obtain results, Hood said.

“They only need to put contact information, but not their name,” she said.

SARP hopes everyone understands the importance of victim provider services, Hood said.

“We want to make sure we're addressing them in creating an atmosphere that needs continuous quality improvement,” she said.

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