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Conference Speakers: Healing Starts with Believing Victims

The Herald Journal Friday, Mar. 10, 2017

It stands to reason that a police officer’s No. 1 goal is to identify the “bad guys” and seek to prosecute them in court, particularly in sex crimes and other violent offenses. ... Not so, said West Valley City Police Chief Lee Russo, keynote speaker at the Start By Believing Conference at Utah State University on Friday, an education and awareness campaign presented to local educators. ... “This is what I had to teach my staff — the goal is not simply to investigate and identify a suspect and prosecute that individual,” he said. “The goal is to serve the victim; the goal for us is to get the victim back to a place as close to normal as possible as they were before the event took place. ... “Incorporated in that goal is investigating a suspect, and prosecuting and convicting a suspect, but it is not the endpoint. The endpoint is serving the victim and healing the victim the best we can.” ... The conference included remarks from several other speakers, including Logan City Police Sgt. Louise Speth, who spoke about reporting sexual assault, child abuse or neglect to the authorities. Educators are crucial in identifying those students who may have been a victim of abuse, she said.

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