ROCKVILLE, Md. (WDVM) — You may start spotting a new ad campaign around Montgomery County all to raise awareness on one of the most difficult topics to talk about; sexual assault.

The Victim Assistance and Sexual Assault Program’s (VASAP) sexual assault outreach volunteers can link survivors to the local Rape Crisis Center, Domestic Violence Program and police if requested for help. For several months, you will see ads on the side of Ride On buses and bike share kiosks to educate residents about services for survivors of any type of sexual abuse.

The campaign will also highlight the availability of forensic exams. The county’s Department of Health and Human Services has been in collaboration with Shady Grove Adventist Hospital’s forensic unit for many years. Officials say there has been a decrease in victims receiving this vital exam during the COVID-19 pandemic. Every 68 seconds in the United States, a person is the victim of a sexual assault.

Dr. Rafiah H. Prince of Montgomery County Health & Human Services said, “We’ve always been there throughout the pandemic, but even now, as we see crime numbers increasing, we want to make sure that the community is aware of all resources available.”

Professionals and trained sexual assault outreach volunteers are available 24/7 to help after traumatic assaults.

For assistance seven days a week, 24 hours daily, call the county’s VASAP at 240-777-4357 (240-777-HELP) to request a sexual assault outreach volunteer when receiving an exam at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, Maryland. Visit www.Montgomerycountymd.Gov/vasap for more information on VASAP services.

The county is also looking for volunteers to help. Visit www.Montgomerycountymd.Gov/vasap for more information on VASAP services.