Florida Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Pamphlet Gives Victims Sex Line

Florida Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Pamphlet Gives Victims Sex Line

victim-pamphlet

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office is reprinting their domestic violence and sexual assault flyers after discovering that the toll free number listed sent victims to an adult sex line.

Deputies had been giving out a pamphlet to domestic violence and sexual assault victims that when dialed told the caller, “Welcome to America’s hottest talk line. Ladies, to talk to interesting and exciting guys free, press 1 now. Guys, hot ladies are waiting to talk to you.”

According to WKMG, victim’s advocacy groups were deeply troubled. “We’re giving out wrong information and I sure don’t want my victims calling a sex line. I have a huge concern about it. The sheriff’s office is passing this out. It’s on the Internet. That’s not our number, obviously, and I can’t figure out where it came from, so I definitely need to figure out how many police agencies around here have that number. Are all the brochures wrong?, asked Kelly Smallridge, the Executive Director for the Haven.

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Smallridge raised a valid concern. How many people went without needed services, because nobody at the sheriff’s department bothered to check the numbers to see if they were right? Domestic violence and sexual assault are crimes that are woefully under reported. Those who take the brave step of coming forward must be connected with needed services.

Just as troubling is the fact that the sheriff’s department has no idea how the wrong phone number got on the pamphlet in the first place. Lake County Sheriff’s Office blamed a clerical error, but the Haven has never had a 1-800 number. The Sheriff’s Office was completely unaware of the problem until a victim reported it to them this week.

The Sheriff’s Office believes that nobody missed out on any needed services because a victim’s advocate from their department makes contact with every victim of a violent crime, but the Sheriff’s Office can’t know if anyone missed out on a needed service, because they had no idea that the phone number on the pamphlet was wrong.

Local law enforcement agencies have been gutted by budget cuts at all levels of government, but not taking 5 minutes to dial the numbers on the pamphlets to make sure they are correct is pretty inexcusable. Mistakes happen, but it is how they are handled that demonstrates concern.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office doesn’t seem to be concerned that it is sending a bad message to domestic abuse and sexual assault victims.

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