WARD, Ark. – A rural police department has a new tool. It’s aimed at helping victims of sexual assault.
The Ward Police Department is the first agency in Arkansas to work with “Seek then Speak”. It offers local recovery and reporting resources for those who may find themselves in this position.
In the community of Ward, the police department covers the 5,000 people that call it home. One of those is Noah Jennings. She says she’s glad to know the Ward Police Department started a new partnership with “Seek then Speak”.
A sexual assault victim can go to the online resource and get information, explore options, and take legal action when they are ready.
“Having that in a small community, and being the first one in the state, it’s absolutely amazing and relieving to me,” Jennings said.
Jennings says she too is a victim of sexual assault. She’s glad to know this resource is available.
“It happens so often and in so many different ways and in so many different scenario,” Jennings said.
The police department hopes this encourages more victims to come forward when many want to stay anonymous.
“So many times they don’t have support. They aren’t believed and they are afraid to go forward because they will have to live this all over again,” Lillian LaGrone said.
They are helping victims find support at their fingertips.
“If it’s assault, it’s assault, and people need to feel comfortable coming out with it and getting the help they need and the justice they deserve,” Jennings said.
The Ward Police Department says the first year of using Seek then Speak if free. The department says they will look for outside funding sources after the first year is up so there is no cost to taxpayers.
Ward is hoping other agencies partner up with the program too.