SEATTLE - Health and advocacy providers have launched a new tool to help connect victims of sexual assault to resources.
The "connector tool" is a collaboration between the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center, KCSARC, Seattle Indian Health Board, the University of Washington departments of Psychiatry and Psychology and Harborview Abuse & Trauma Center.
KCSARC's Chief Program Officer, Lorraine Lynch says the five leaders saw a delay in getting survivors the tools necessary to cope with the traumatic experience.
"We wanted we recognize that it's really important that survivors are connected as quickly as possible to help improve their long term outcomes and recovery and healing," Lynch said.
The three-step "connector tool" has been in the works since the summer of 2022 and is now live.
"It lets a survivor know they’re not alone," Lynch said.
The tool was created specifically for Seattle residents with the goal of hoping to close the gap and ensuring survivors have access at any point along the way.
"Long-term recovery after sexual assault is not only possible but likelier when a survivor receives immediate support and validation," said George Gonzalez, Assistant Director, Harborview Abuse & Trauma Center.
A quick QR code scan takes you to the homepage of the tool – a simple confidential survey to help victims of rape or those looking for someone they know.
A user-friendly questionnaire during a difficult time was important as the end goal is to get survivors help immediately.
"Survivors in the immediate aftermath of sexual assault they are overwhelmed and aren't sure where to go," Lynch said.
The tool helps victims access advocacy, therapy, legal and medical resources including access to a free sexual assault forensic exam, often called a "rape kit".
Advocates say the need is increasing.
In 2021, 5059 individuals and their families accessed direct services at KSCARC.
KCSARC says they've seen a 23% increase in the last five years.
- 4,100 people in 2017
- 4,888 in 2018
- 4,905 in 2019
- 4,560 in 2020
37% of those benefiting are in Seattle and 43% in South King County.
"Just being able to connect survivors and help them with their healing journey is really exciting," Lynch said.
The tool is available to everyone.... and help will be given whether you’ve reported your incident to police or not.
According to KCSARC out of 1000 sexual assaults 975 perpetrators walk free.
Their data shows out of 310 sexual assaults reported, 50 lead to an arrest, 28 cases will end up with a felony conviction and only 25 perpetrators will be incarcerated.
"Whether or not a survivor reports or their cases assigned or moves through the justice system," Lynch said. "We want to ensure that survivors are connected to all of these other resources,"
The "connector tool" is now live, here's a link.