Northwestern DA urges sexual assault victims to file report amid UMass Amherst protests

Hampshire County

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The Northwestern District Attorney has issued a statement after students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have protested due to allegations of a sexual assault at a fraternity circulated on social media.

In their statement, the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office reported that they take all allegations of sexual assault seriously and “vigorously investigates and prosecutes such cases.”

The Northwestern District Attorney’s office urges any survivors of sexual assault to report their cases either to local police or directly to the office. Those who do report a case of sexual assault directly to the Northwestern District Attorney’s office can speak with an assistant district attorney who specializes in the prosecution of alleged sexual assaults. Survivors can also speak with a specially-trained victim witness advocate who can explain the criminal process and discuss options for going forward.

“We know that sometimes an important step in healing from the trauma of a sexual assault is to see the alleged perpetrator called to account. We also understand that some victim-survivors are suspicious of authorities because they fear they will not be believed or their cases will not be handled properly,” said Northwestern Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Suhl. “Our office has a proven history of successfully investigating and prosecuting cases of campus sexual assault. We want to assure survivors of sexual assault that we are here to support them if they choose to come forward.”

Agencies who support survivors of sexual assault can be contacted at the following locations:

  • Northwestern District Attorney’s office: 413-586-9225
  • Center for Women and Community at UMass: 413-545-0883
  • Safe Passage in Northampton: 413-586-1125
  • New England Learning Center for Women in Transition in Greenfield: 413-772-0806

“The last thing in the world we want is for victims of sexual assault to feel they have no place safe to go for recourse,” said Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan. “Prosecutors and victim witness advocates in our office have extensive training to help us all better understand the unique needs of, and therefore better respond to, survivors of sexual assault. We are deeply committed to employing a trauma-informed approach and ensuring victims are heard throughout the process.”

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