Orange County, New York
Wholeheartedly Embraces Start by Believing
Orange County, New York is a rural county, about two hours north of New York City. It is home to 32 law enforcement agencies, 6 major hospitals, 3 SANE programs and the West Point Military Academy.
When COVID struck, the Orange County, New York Sexual Assault Response Team went virtual. This new setting allowed more team members to participate, and the Mental Health Association in Orange County, Inc. (MHA) realized it was the perfect time to introduce Start by Believing. The team voted unanimously to adopt the campaign, and just like that, a new initiative was born.
The support for Start by Believing is extensive – The District Attorney’s Office, numerous law enforcement agencies, and all 3 hospitals quickly signed on for training, which began in February 2021 and will continue throughout the year. During each training, participants are asked to make the pledge to Start by Believing.
Port Jervis Police Department

Port Jervis Police Department was the first law enforcement agency to kick off their Start by Believing campaign, with Chief William Worden showing his support from the beginning.
Becoming a Start by Believing County

On April 1st, Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus declared Orange County a Start by Believing County, solidifying the community’s commitment to support survivors of sexual assault. 
After I provided training to the City of Middletown Police Department on Start by Believing, a sexual assault was reported. As the responding advocate, I observed the responding officer using the terminology she learned from my training, in order to connect with the survivor and create a bond where she felt safe and supported.

-Tina Conneely, Advocate
Congratulations, Orange County, NY. We appreciate all your efforts to embrace the Start by Believing message, paving the way to long-lasting systemic reforms to open doors and provide access for survivors.