IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (WJMN) – Dickinson County organizations and local law enforcement agencies came together Wednesday morning to sign its Sexual Assault Response Policy.

The policy has been in the works for over three years, with the overall message that there are free, confidential sexual assault services available in the area. According to the Caring House, the policy consists of an immediate and consistent response to sexual assault victims with the goal of implementing and maintaining a comprehensive, coordinated, trauma-informed and victim-centered system of intervention and care, with a commitment to systems change and continuous improvement. The Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) includes the five Dickinson County law enforcement agencies, Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Marshfield Medical Center- Dickinson and Caring House.

“What we’ve done so far up to this point is we’ve reviewed the policies; we’ve made all changes necessary to make sure victims are getting care that they need,” said SART Coordinator Heather Strauss. “And today, we are to make sure that our final reviews are set, and we are going to sign and make sure that the community knows that they have our support.”

The Response Policies are designed to enhance community safety by holding perpetrators accountable; provide evidence-based best practice guidance on coordinated community response to sexual violence; and promote responsibility and accountability among all systems.

“We investigate crimes, but we also act as first-point of contact with the victim,” said First Lieutenant Jeremy Hauswirth, Post Commander of Michigan State Police – Iron Mountain. “So, victim services are often routed through the police, or we are able to connect victims to services to both help in the prosecution and processing of the crime and the case, and ultimately in the healing of the victim.”

If you are in a crisis, you can call Caring House’s crisis line at (906) 774-1112. If you want to learn more about the services Caring House provides, please visit