DENVER — With recent allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, sex assaults are a topic that's heavily discussed.
However, the people who find it hardest to discuss the subject are victims of the crime. That's why the Denver Police Department is taking a new approach to reporting sex assaults through a newer website and mobile phone app.
It's called Seek Then Speak, a program that puts "you in the driver's seat to get help for yourself, or someone you know, after sexual assault," according to its website. It was designed by End Violence Against Women International and Denver Police thinks it's what the department needs to give a voice to people who find it hard to speak up.
"Victims will have the option of reporting directly to [Denver Police Department's] Sex Assault Investigative Unit or to the Victims Assistance Unit," said Christina Amparan, an administrator for the Victims Assistance Unit. "If they choose to report directly to the VAU, they'll get connected to a victims specialist who will then explain to them their options."
Amparan said victims will also get help with how to move forward with reporting a criminal act including what the process looks like and what kind of questions detectives may ask.
Seek Then Speak gives victims the opportunity to remain anonymous while guiding them through a series of questions designed to help give a more detailed report. It has "a multilingual platform that allows victims to engage in a gradual and supportive dialogue," according to Denver Police.
"We have seen an increase in sex assault reporting since we've seen the "Me Too" movement," Amparan said.
Amparan said currently the department gets five to seven reports of sex assault a day, but they know there are still a lot of victims who are still too scared to speak up. So, they're relying on Seek Then Speak to help remove barriers for victims.
Victims who are 18 years or older will be directly connected with an advocate or detective if they choose, but Denver Police says they have to contact a legal guardian for anyone younger before moving forward.
While the program is expected to make reporting sex assault easier, it's not an emergency line. Seek Then Speak encourages anyone who may be in immediate danger to call 911.
To learn more about the program, click here.