Local law enforcement attend sex assault response training cours - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Local law enforcement attend sex assault response training course

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DURANT -- It's estimated one out of every eight women in Oklahoma will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.

Today, local law enforcement took a small step towards helping reduce that statistic.

Linda Terrell now earns a living teaching law enforcement how to be more effective bringing justice to victims of sexual assault, like her.

"I'm a sexual assault survivor," Terrell said.

Terrell was raped 28 year ago in college by a man who pleaded guilty in Cleveland County in May 2013 to nearly a dozen sex crimes.

"When he was caught in New Mexico for a peeping tom incident his DNA was put into the system and it popped up all over," Terrell said.

Terrell is the director for the Oklahoma Regional Community Policing Institute which hosted a SARRT training course at Southeastern Oklahoma State University on Tuesday.

SARRT stands for Sexual Assault Response and Resource Teams.

Terrell says counties in southeast Oklahoma need them.

"That's why we're doing these trainings across the state in rural and remote communities because there are barriers that preclude … as effective response, as could happen," Terrell said.

Terrell says sexual assault is the least reported violent crime in the country and the violent crime with the fewest incarcerations. According to the organization End Violence Against Women, fewer than 3% of all rape cases end with the suspect going to prison.

Anna Marcy with the Crisis Control Center in Durant works with four counties in southeast Oklahoma to help sexual assault victims, including those in Marshall County.

"I think we do well now but we can certainly do better," Marshall County Sheriff Ed Kent said.

While all counties have resources to handle sex crimes, Marcy says most lack a formal effort to successfully prosecute suspects.

While today's meeting won't mean any major changes overnight, she says bringing all the links in the chain to the table is a start.

"This is about victim services and serving those people who have been victimized," Marcy said. "Sexual assault is a crime."

Anyone who is a victim of sexual assault is encouraged to report it to law enforcement or to contact a crisis center in their area:

Crisis Control Center
115 N. 12th Ave. #C
Durant, OK 74701
(580)924-3030

Mental Health Services of Southern Oklahoma (MHSSO)
1219 K St. N.W., Suite 2
Ardmore, OK  73401
Phone: 580-798-4523
Fax: 580-319-5349

Carl Albert Mental Health Services
1101 E Monroe
McAlester, OK  74502
Phone: 918-426-7800

Family Crisis Center
P. O. Box 2274
Ada, OK 74820
Phone : 580-436-3504