A friend or family member is typically the first person a victim confides in after an assault and each person’s reaction is the first step in a long path toward healing and justice. Knowing how to respond is critical – a negative response can worsen the trauma, silence victims, and foster an environment where sexual assault offenders face zero consequences for their crimes. Research shows that sexual abusers offend an average of six times, which means believing a victim has the power to prevent five more victims. Start By Believing will lead the way toward stopping this cycle by informing the public, fostering a positive community and public service response, uniting stakeholders and supporters, and improving personal reactions. The goal is to change outcomes for victims, one positive response at a time.

The campaign is implemented locally by the following partners of the Sexual Assault Response Team: The City of Poughkeepsie Mayor’s Office, the Dutchess County Executive’s Office, Dutchess County Department of Community and Family Services, Family Service’s Center for Victim Safety and Support, the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department, the Town of Poughkeepsie Police Department, the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office, Dutchess County District Attorney’s Office, Vassar Brother’s Medical Center, Mid-Hudson Regional Hospital, Northern Dutchess Hospital, the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral and Community Health, the Child Advocacy Center, Vassar College, the Culinary Institute of America, Marist College, Dutchess Community College, and Bard College.

For further information visit:



Get Involved Today 


Contact Us 




An Affilate of Family Services

 Family Services Leadership Partner