ROCKVILLE, Md. — Montgomery County police have joined hands with prosecutors, victims advocates and health care professionals to make it less trying for sexual assault victims to reach out for help, justice and healing.
“For far too long, this has been a shadow crime that people talk about at home and nowhere else,” said Lt. Jordan Satinsky of the Montgomery County Police Department. “And we only find out, sometimes, as a police department, by accident.”
Members of the public turned out Tuesday night to learn about services the county offers victims of sexual assault at the Universities at Shady Grove in Rockville, Maryland.
“If you’re a victim of sexual assault and you’re afraid to report, if you feel your case won’t be handled sensitively. We are there with expertise and compassion to work with individuals to help bring offenders to justice,” said Debbie Feinstein, chief of the Special Victims Division at the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office.
The county has strived the past few years to draw together the agencies that deal with sexual assault under one umbrella, offering better collaboration for victims and reducing the times a victim has to retell their story.
The county’s Victim Assistance and Sexual Assault program provides therapeutic services for victims of sex assault and also has victim advocates navigate the criminal justice system.
Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger told the public session that in 2017 there were:
- 239 sexual assault cases
- 627 child sex abuse cases
- 272 child exploitation cases
Chief Manger said in nearly 80% of the sexual assault investigations, police were able to identify the perpetrator, but hundreds of other sexual assault cases likely went unreported.
“Please call us, whether it be the police department or the State’s Attorney’s Office or victims’ services. Please call us and at least know that we’re here to help you,” said Lt. Satinsky.