LSU police department houses a safe space called the soft room for sexual assault victims to comfortably share their experiences.
“We wanted to create an environment where you feel comfortable talking to the person that’s interviewing you, and with that level of comfort, hopefully we can calm you down and get a little more information out of you” Detective Sgt. Sarah Drake said.
LSU is the first SEC school to implement this soft room, and LSU PD hopes to aid other schools in the conference to make students more comfortable
“We have the advantage of seeing what worked and what didn’t, and hopefully we can share that information with our other police departments in the SEC or other schools in the SEC and, you know, have that learning curve go away" Drake said.
The intent of the soft room is to have a welcoming environment where victims feel safe to share their experiences judgement free.
“When you open the door, it invites you in," Officer Kim Bass stated. "You just wanna come in sit down talk to an officer and talk to them about what happened. It helps the victim or the survivor tell what happened.”
The beginning of the soft room comes from a project called Project Beloved, started by Tracy Matheson, whose daughter was a victim of rape and murder. After the tragic event, Matheson had a police interrogation that she wouldn’t want anyone else to experience.
“She remembers being brought into the police department and being interviewed in the kitchen. She said she just didn’t want anyone else to have to experience that after something so traumatic," Bass said.
LSU PD says that victims that have come in to share their experiences have felt the overall welcoming feeling that was intended.