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Milwaukee community leaders sign commitment to help sexual assault survivors

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee community leaders are now banding together to support sexual assault survivors at a time when reports of assaults are up in the City.

Tuesday community leaders gathered at Sojourner Family Peace Center to sign onto the first ever Milwaukee County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART).

“Every survivor before this moment and every survivor moving forward will be better served,”

Carmen Pitre,Sojourner Family Peace Center President/CEO, said.

The Milwaukee Police Department, Sheriff's Office, and Froedert Hospital are just a few of the organizations that signed the protocol stating their commitment to serving sexual assault survivors.

“We want victims to know that they shouldn't be afraid to come forward,” Milwaukee Police Captain Aimee Obregon said. “Some victims are reluctant to come forward because they are afraid that they aren't going to be believed but we will believe you we will listen to you and we will do what we can to work your case through the system.”

The goal is for the organizations to keep their response to sexual assaults centered around the survivor's needs.

“Even if the case ultimately doesn't get solved, at least you connect them with all the supportive services so they can deal with the trauma, “John Chisholm, Milwaukee County District Attorney, said.

Captain Obregon says the number of reported sexual assaults is up from last year and have been gradually increasing over the past few years

Some community leaders think more people feel comfortable coming forward as a result of the “Me Too Movement.”

“I see the increase in numbers as a sign that we are opening the door in a better way for people to feel safe in coming forward,” Pitre said.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice says sexual assault is the number one underreported crime in the state.

Thirty-eight Wisconsin counties now have a Sexual Assault Response Team.

There is also a statewide SART led by Wisconsin Attorney general Brad Schimel.

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