You Have Options Program

YOU HAVE OPTIONS PROGRAM

REPORTING SEXUAL ASSAULT

A message from Garfield County Sheriff Ben Keller:

The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office participation in the You Have Options Program (YHOP) is our commitment to sexual assault victims that they will not only be heard, but also have their individual concerns addressed during both the reporting and investigative process. The person who committed the sexual assault is solely responsible for that assault and one of our jobs as law enforcement officers is to gather evidence that will allow that offender to be held accountable for his/her crimes. Our deputies receive advanced training on trauma interviewing and investigative strategies to identify serial sexual perpetrators to assist us in that goal. None of that work can begin until the sexual assault is reported.

The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office has long recognized the importance of working with community members as well as health and prevention organizations. These relationships are crucial during the process of investigating and solving the crime of sexual assault. The YHOP program is a commitment to victims of sexual assault to work with them throughout this process, should they choose to report.

We pledge to every victim of sexual assault who enters the program by reporting their victimization that we will abide by these concepts. We understand that every victim of sexual assault will have unique concerns during the reporting process and we will work with each victim to address those concerns. The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office will not require any sexual assault victim to make a decision regarding their participation in a criminal investigation when they initially report. Sexual assault victims are given the time they need to make the decisions right for them, regardless of the criminal investigation. Priority is always given to a sexual assault victim’s physical safety and mental well-being.

I hope that those considering reporting will take a moment to read about the 20 Elements of a Victim-Centered and Offender-Focused You Have Options Program Law Enforcement Response. Outlined within those elements are options for reporting at the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office. Our deputies are always available to speak with victims if there are questions about the reporting or investigative process. There is no requirement to provide any identifying information to get answers. You may remain anonymous. We will provide a sexual assault advocate and medical care whenever possible, even if they never intend to file a police report.

Respectfully,

Ben Keller

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