As an advocate for survivors of sexual assault, I am concerned about the impact on victims with possible budget cuts to the Rumford Police Department.
Our agency works closely with the Rumford Police Department in the best interest of victims. Currently, Rumford has two detectives who investigate these cases, which are complex and time-consuming. The two detectives in Rumford are active participants in our Sexual Assault Response Team.
This team works to limit the obstacles individuals face as they struggle to cope with the aftermath of sexual assault. The team includes local law enforcement, the legal system, medical professionals and advocates. SART employs a cohesive, team-based response to assist victim-survivors of sexual violence.
It is in a victim’s best interest to have a consistent person to work with and turn to during an investigation. It is in the community’s best interest to have those cases successfully investigated. Most offenders have more than one victim.
I am concerned that reducing detective hours will put the community more at risk of repeat offenders.
When considering cuts and saving money, communities should weigh the risks of the residents in their communities. In the long run, cuts to the Police Department may actually cost the community more, in money and heartache.
Stephanie LeBlond, South Paris
Oxford site manager, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Services