A newly renovated facility in the Illinois State University Police Department (ISUPD) offices provides a comforting space for crime victims. The department’s new soft interview room allows victims to speak with officers in a supportive, non-threatening environment.

“As law enforcement professionals, we have come a very long way in understanding how our response can impact victims and survivors,” said ISUPD Chief Aaron Woodruff.  “We use a trauma informed approach and make sure they feel believed and supported.”

One of the biggest obstacles to developing trust with victims is the way in which police departments are designed and used. Sparsely furnished interview rooms that are typically used to interview suspects often make crime victims feel uncomfortable, and may even make them feel as though they are suspects themselves. According to Woodruff, one of the most important ways to help prevent future incidents is to encourage victims and survivors to come forward and report sexual assaults and other violent crimes to authorities. “Unfortunately, one of the barriers to this is that people often feel they are not believed or supported by those they are disclosing to,” said Woodruff.

“Our goal is always to reduce any barriers which may impede someone from reporting what has happened to them” said Woodruff. “This new room will hopefully help survivors and other victims of crimes feel a sense of security and serenity when reporting to the police.”

Campus sexual assaults have become a national issue garnering the attention of students, parents, the media, and legislators. Illinois State University has been at the forefront of this issue and continues to help prevent, respond to, and help survivors recover from these traumatic incidents.  One of the most important ways to help prevent future incidents is to encourage survivors to come forward and report sexual violence to authorities.

The room was made possible with the generous support of Martin’s Home Furnishings of Bloomington and wall décor from ISU Printing Services.