DES MOINES — April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate and Marion County Sheriff Jason Sandholdt joined forces on Wednesday, April 12 to raise awareness.

The duo also promoted Iowa’s address confidentiality program, Safe at Home, and resources available for survivors across the state.

“We want Iowans to know that law enforcement and my office are here to help if they need assistance,” Pate said in an interview. “This isn’t a rural issue — it isn’t an urban issue — it’s an Iowa issue, and together, sheriffs and my office are taking a stand against sexual abuse and getting Iowans the resources they need.”

Sandholdt also serves as the president of the Iowa Sheriffs and Deputies Association in addition to his elected office. Sandholdt wants to assure Iowans who are victims of this crime that their offices across all of Iowa’s 99 counties are there to help and provide resources when requested.

“If you’re a victim of sexual abuse or assault, I encourage you to report it if you feel comfortable. This crime affects all demographics — regardless of background or where you live,” Sandholdt said. “If you don’t feel comfortable contacting law enforcement, go to your local emergency room. They have specially trained nurses and advocates there that can help you navigate your next steps and get you the help you need.”

If you’re a victim seeking initial resources and next steps, contact the confidential Iowa Victim’s Call Center at 1-800-770-1650 or text ‘IOWAHELP’ to 20121, and a trained advocate will get in touch with you.

Iowa Safe at Home was established in 2015 as a resource for survivors of sexual abuse, domestic violence, assault, stalking and human trafficking. Today, there are approximately 1,200 participants across 77 of Iowa’s 99 counties. If you or someone you know could benefit from this program visit or call 515-725-7233.

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