LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Signs of HOPE, formerly known as the Rape Crisis Center, is reminding the public about its resources in light of an increase in demand for services and ahead of the Fourth of July weekend.
The organization encourages everyone to make the “Party Smart Promise,” a pledge for groups to arrive together, stick together, and leave together.
Signs of HOPE offered the following tips for the pledge:
- Arrive together: Make a plan for where you’re going, who you’re meeting, and how everyone will get home. Have a backup plan in case of an emergency, choose a code word or signal to let each other know if something is wrong, and let someone you trust who isn’t with you know where you will be. You should also keep your phone charged and download a safety app, like Circle of 6.
- Stick together: Check in with your group throughout the night to make sure everyone is alright. Always get your own drink and keep an eye on it at all times.
- Leave together: Never leave a member of your group behind or let an intoxicated friend go home with a stranger. Check-in to make sure everyone got home safe.
The pledge is part of a sexual assault prevention initiative focusing on protecting both locals and tourists, particularly people ages 18 to 24.
From March through May of 2022, the organization saw jumps in year-over-year demand for services in hospitals, hotline calls, and human trafficking interventions.
Sexual assault victims seen at hospitals increased by 16%, and hotline calls were up 25% during that period, a seven-year record high for the organization.
“For partygoers, our experience tells us that predators often follow the same patterns that are easily detectable. Please trust your instincts, if something doesn’t feel right, engage your friends, security staff, or other patrons to assist if you need help. If you see someone in need of assistance or note predatory behavior or body or verbal language that indicates someone is uncomfortable, get help if you don’t feel comfortable assisting yourself,” said Signs of HOPE executive director Daniele Staple. “Even simple distractions can be effective in disrupting the behavior. If you are with a group, discuss safety before going out and make a commitment to each other to arrive together, stick together and leave together.”
Signs of Hope focuses its campaign around the following statistics:
- Women 18 to 24 experience the highest rates of sexual violence
- Roughly 20% of victims signs of HOPE serves at UMC are assaulted in a party situation or alcohol-serving establishment, or met their attacker in such a setting
- More than 80% of assaults involve alcohol, and predators use it as a weapon to increase their control
Signs of HOPE’s 27/7 crisis hotline can be reached at 702-366-1640. Its online chat services can be reached through this link.