Washington D.C.– The Mayor’s Office of Victim Services recently joined with community service providers, leading sexual assault prevention experts and law enforcement officials throughout the Washington, D.C. area to launch a pioneering resource for targets and victims of assault.
The District-wide initiative addresses sexual assault and dating violence through the use of technology, and is the first of its kind, officials said in a press advisory.
For the first time, 33 life-saving assault response resources throughout the entire District have been united in an all-in-one tool for residents: Assault. Services. Knowledge. Washington, D.C. (ASK DC) mobile application and website.
The new ASK DC app provides quick access to immediate medical help, including a free cab ride to the hospital, and to law enforcement; access to 24-hour support hotlines and online chats with trained counsellors from RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) and the DC Rape Crisis Center among others; and other District-specific community resources.
Every 2 minutes, someone in the United States is sexually assaulted, according to federal statistics. And D.C. officials say the goal of the initiative is to reduce the number of such incidents among D.C. residents, increase reporting of victimization, and raise awareness for vital community resources.
As part of the ASK DC initiative, which is a joint project of the nonprofit Men Can Stop Rape and the Mayor’s Office of Victim Services, a series of trainings will be hosted throughout the city focusing on how to use the ASK DC app, bystander intervention strategies, and sexual assault response protocols. Training participants will include Capitol Hill staffers, law enforcement, other non-profits, local churches, deaf and hard-of-hearing, military families, and military personnel.
The new application and website is a follow-up to the September 2012 launch of the University Assault. Services. Knowledge. or U ASK App, which compiled all the sexual assault and dating violence victims’ services for D.C. campuses, and which officials have hailed as being a great success.