LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Several local law enforcement agencies attended a sexual assault workshop hosted by the Attorney General’s Office on Friday.
Sexual assault is one of the most under-reported crimes: 63 percent of sexual assaults are not reported to the police, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
“It does happen in Southwest Louisiana," Tammy Vincent, a certified sexual assault nurse, said. "A lot of people; when they hear the statistics, they say, ‘really? Here?’ Yes, it does happen here. We saw 202 patients face-to-face last year seeking a forensic medical exam.”
One in five women and one 1 in 71 men will be sexually assaulted at some point in their lives; this according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
At the workshop, law enforcement around Southwest Louisiana discussed the correct approach to these types of cases with the help of medical professionals, the justice department and college campuses.
Detective Ryan Arnold with Sulphur Police says this training is vital.
“Attending different sorts of training for law enforcement is always good," Arnold said. "You get to learn different aspects through the training as far as victim’s advocates or SANE nurses and everybody that has to do with a case and how they assist with everything.”
Detective Don Briscoe says the training also helps reconnect law enforcement agencies.
“The importance of having regular training is that we are up to date; up to par with the new things coming out," Briscoe said. "To be able to reach out and be like, ‘Hey, I’m working on this case. I have this situation. Tell me about your situation and maybe we can learn from this.’”
They hope this collaboration can put more minds at ease and encourage victims to report those crimes.
“I think it’s very important to understand when someone discloses sexual assault that there is help out there," Vincent said. "We have a great team in our community. It’s the sexual assault resource team. We come together and collaborate to make sure that in our community that these patients and victims are going to be taken care of.”
According to the Attorney General’s Office, around 700 law enforcement officers across Louisiana have participated in these workshops since the start of 2019.