Orlando police, advocacy group launch new sexual violence awareness campaign

Posters will be put in downtown bars and nightclubs

By Amanda Castro - Reporter/Anchor

ORLANDO, Fla. - Orlando police and an advocacy group are teaming up to get results and help prevent people from being sexually attacked at nightclubs.

[READ: OPD, advocacy group launch campaign]

"We all want to go out and have a good time so let's watch each other's backs," Lui Damiani, executive director of Victim Service Center of Central Florida said.

That is the message behind the new initiative aimed at people who enjoy Orlando's nightlife.

The Victim Service Center of Central Florida and Orlando Police are working together on the sexual violence awareness campaign.

Damiani says sexual assaults are on the rise. He adds many cases happen because of alcohol and drugs. He says that is why they went to the bars and nightclubs, calling it a community effort to prevent sexual violence.

"Having the poster available where people know within the establishment, 'Hey you can look out for your friends, you can look out for one another,'" Damiani said.  "If you see something that doesn't look right, call us, call OPD right away."

The posters will go up in bathroom and hallways inside the bars. On each poster is the number to the confidential 24-hour sexual assault hotline (407) 497-6701.

The campaign is also training bar staff to be more aware of their customers.

"We want them to both have fun and be safe. We don't think those things need to be mutually exclusive," Community Service Officer Roland Clee with the Orlando Police Department said.

The goal is to prevent people from being victimized. And if you do become a victim, the campaign encourages people to get help with just one phone call.

"Let's start looking out for one another. Let's put an end to violence in our community and this is a great starting point," Damiani said. "Engaging everybody, engaging businesses, engaging citizens and let them know they can be part of the solution."

The posters will be put up in downtown bars in the next couple of days. The campaign hopes to expand to UCF and other areas with several bars and nightclubs.
 

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