Start By Believing

Start by Believing Logo

When a sexual assault is reported, officers with the Department of Public Safety (DPS) start by believing. Knowing how to respond to a sexual assault is critical—a negative response can worsen the trauma and foster an environment where perpetrators face zero consequences for their crimes. We want our community to know that if they come forward with a report, it will be taken seriously and addressed compassionately.

Start by Believing is a public awareness campaign uniquely focused on the public response to sexual assault. A friend or family member usually is the first person a survivor confides in after an assault and each individual’s personal reaction is the first step in their personal journey toward justice and healing. All too often, when a survivor confides in someone they trust, they do not feel fully supported. As a result, they are less likely to pursue the matter with law enforcement. This is why leadership at the University of Michigan-Flint Department of Public Safety supports the Start by Believing campaign.

Because rapists attack an average of six times, one failed response can equal five more victims. Start by Believing will lead the way toward stopping this cycle by creating a positive community response, informing the public, uniting allies, and improving our personal reactions. The goal is to change outcomes for victims one response at a time.

DPS works together with our campus partners to foster a positive response to victims of sexual assault. Together we strive to provide a safe, caring environment where victims are empowered to step forward and take action against those who have harmed them.



For campus and community partners interested in taking the Start by Believing pledge, contact DPS E/Sgt. Heather Bromley at 810-237-6512 or email [email protected]. Individuals also can make a personal pledge to Start by Believing.

This public awareness campaign is brought to you by EVAWI, End Violence Against Women International.

DPS Sexual Assault Response Commitment

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, the University of Michigan-Flint Department of Public Safety (DPS) recognizes that reporting can be difficult. We want to ensure that survivors are treated with respect, sensitivity and understanding.

Our Commitment

Be supportive and not prejudge because we Start by Believing

  • Meet with you privately or accompanied by an advocate—reporting to the police does not mean you must prosecute
  • Uphold state law concerning medical amnesty by never pursuing alcohol or drug charges against survivors
  • Help you obtain medical treatment and/or a free sexual assault evidence kit
  • Connect you with advocate support, confidential counseling, safety planning and other resources throughout the investigation
  • Treat you and your individual case with dignity, courtesy and professionalism
  • Do our best to accommodate your request to meet with a female or male officer
  • Handle your case with discretion and not release your name to the public or media—your parent or guardian will not be notified unless you are 17 or younger
  • Conduct a thorough investigation regardless of the age, race, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation of the survivor or suspect
  • Assist you through the process—you will be kept informed of the progress of any investigation or court proceedings