Signs of Hope Reminds Community of its Prevention Programs and Resources Ahead of July 4th Weekend
Newly revamped partysmartinlv.com website offers safety tips, resources and more
LAS VEGAS, NEV (June 28, 2022) – As Las Vegas readies itself to again welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors to the destination for 4th of July weekend, and in light of recent increases in demand for services, Signs of HOPE, formerly known as The Rape Crisis Center, encourages everyone to make the “Party Smart Promise,” a simple pledge to Arrive Together. Stick Together and Leave Together. Targeted to both locals and tourists, particularly the most vulnerable population, young people ages 18-24, the Party Smart campaign is part of a dual-pronged Signs of HOPE sexual assault prevention initiative that includes safety tips and guidelines for party goers; it also includes training in partnership with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department for hospitality and nightlife venue staff on how to spot, intervene and prevent predatory behavior through a program called StaySAFE (Sexual Assault Free Environments).
“Given the recent spike in demand, we wanted to take the opportunity ahead of the busy holiday weekend to remind our community of the resources and information we offer for businesses, community organizations and individuals,” said Daniele Staple, executive director of Signs of HOPE. “We want everyone, visitors and locals alike, to have a safe and fun experience in Las Vegas.”
In March through May 2022, Signs of HOPE saw jumps in year-over-year demand for services in several key areas:
- Victims seen at the hospital: Up 16%. These are victims who choose to go to the hospital for a forensic sexual assault exam and are accompanied by a Signs of HOPE trained advocate.
- Hotline calls: Up 25%, including over 600 calls during the month of April, a seven-year record high.
- Human trafficking: During one long weekend in April, advocates from the organization’s RISE program spoke with 75 people at risk for being trafficked, the largest number in a four-day weekend since the launch of the RISE program in 2020.
*Party Smart details, including “how to” guides for being an active bystander, ways to fulfill the Party Smart promise, how to help someone who discloses to you, a resource guide and information on the StaySAFE prevention training may all be found on the newly revamped website, partysmartinlv.com
“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. 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,” added Staple.
The need for the Party Smart Campaign in Las Vegas is significant and is based on some key statistics and information:
- Women 18 to 24 experience the highest rates of sexual violence.
- Around 20% of victims Signs of HOPE serves at UMC Hospital are assaulted at a party situation or alcohol-serving establishment OR met their perpetrator in such a setting.
- Alcohol is the most common “date rape drug.” More than 80% of assaults involve alcohol, and predators use it as a weapon to increase their control in situations.
In a positive data point, Staple reports that the number of individuals trained through the StaySAFE program, primarily security and hospitality workers at Las Vegas resorts, is back to pre-pandemic levels, with over 1,000 individuals trained this fiscal year. StaySAFE training as well as a myriad of other prevention programs are available for free for businesses and community organizations.
For anyone who has questions or needs assistance, Signs of HOPE operates a 24/7 crisis hotline, 702-366-1640, and online chat services through its website, sohlv.org. For community groups interested in the StaySAFE training or any other prevention programming, please reach out to Signs of HOPE via the organization’s website or via email at [email protected].
About Signs of HOPE
Signs of HOPE – Healing, Options, Prevention and Education – is a nonprofit organization dedicated to offering hope, help and healing to those affected by sexual violence and exploitation. The organization was founded in 1974 by Florence McClure and Sandra Petta as the Community Action Against Rape (CAAR) and operated as The Rape Crisis Center from 2004-2021. Today, Signs of HOPE operates a 24/7 crisis hotline, SMS text and online chat daily and provides hospital response for sexual assault victims. In addition, the organization provides counseling, advocacy and support to help victims throughout the healing process, for as long as it takes. Through its Resources and Integration for Survivor Empowerment or RISE program, the organization provides crisis response and long-term case management services to victims of all forms of human trafficking. Signs of HOPE is committed to raising awareness of sexual assault and exploitation by engaging in prevention efforts, educational programs and community outreach, particularly to youth. The Signs of HOPE 24-hour hotline number is 702-366-1640. For more information and online chat services, visit sohlv.org.
* A few tips for staying safe amid the festive atmosphere:
Arrive Together – Before You Go Out
- Choose a friend or group of friends to go with.
- Make a plan for where you’re going and who you’re meeting.
- Decide how everyone will get home. Have a backup plan in case of emergency.
- Choose a code word or signal to let each other know when something isn’t right.
- Let a trusted person not with you know where you will be.
- Charge your phone.
- Download a safety app such as Circle of 6.
Stick Together – While You’re There
- Keep an eye on your group. Check in with each other throughout the night to make sure everyone is feeling good and having fun.
- Always get your own drink and keep an eye on it at all times.
- Be an Active Bystander.
Leave Together – When the Party is Over
- Never leave a member of your group behind.
- Don’t let an intoxicated friend go home with a stranger.
- Check in to make sure everyone got home safe. If you can’t reach one of your group members, get help.