Public comment sought on rights of Missouri sexual assault victims

RDN REPORTS
rdnnews@gmail.com

The state’s task force reviewing the treatment and support of sexual assault victims in Missouri will hold its third public hearing next week. 

The Missouri Rights of Sexual Assault Task Force invites individuals to listen to the online public hearing 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. Sept. 22. The hearing will focus on recommendations for supporting and protecting the privacy of sexual assault survivors.

The task force has already held two public hearings with an additional hearing scheduled  1-3 p.m. on Sept. 28, that will focus on evidence collection. 

Once it becomes available, information will be provided with details on how to listen to the sessions at http://dps.mo.gov/dir/programs/cvsu/task-force.php. 

The task force is also seeking comments and suggestions from the public on how to strengthen protection and services for sexual assault victims in Missouri. 

The task force is gathering comments and suggestions through an online survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MORightsTaskForce.

The survey closes Sept. 30. 

The Missouri Rights of Victims of Sexual Assault Task Force was created through Senate Bill 569, which was signed into law by Gov. Mike Parson in July 2020. 

In addition to including the “Justice for Survivors Act” and the “Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights,” it mandated establishment of the task force, which must “collect feedback from stakeholders, practitioners, and leadership throughout the state and local law enforcement, victim services, forensic science practitioners, and health care communities to inform development of future best practices or clinical guidelines regarding the care and treatment of survivors.”

SB 569 also requires the task force to study nationally recognized best practices and make recommendations regarding the development and implementation of a method for tracking and investigating complaints about the handling of sexual assault investigations and reporting, and the development of documentation to be provided to sexual assault survivors informing them of their rights. 

It also directs the task force to determine when there is a need for additional employees or volunteers at rape crisis centers, determine the costs of meeting the potential need and methods for meeting the need.

The task force is required to submit a report on its findings, including any majority and dissenting opinions to the Governor and General Assembly by Dec. 31.

The Department of Public Safety is tasked with providing administrative support to the task force.

Missouri Rights of Victims of Sexual Assault Task Force Public Hearing

When: Sept. 22, 1 p.m. - 3 p.m.

Topic: Survivor Privacy

Join the WebEx online meeting by computer:https://stateofmo.webex.com/stateofmo/j.php?MTID=m03f4e1d4c9bc1ffe1f0793774a5ef231

Join by phone: Dial 1-650-479-3207

Meeting number/access code: 177 299 3872

Meeting password: e2bTmEmm3K3

Public Hearing Agenda:

  • Welcome, Introductions, 1-1:05 p.m.
  • Administrative Matters, Sarah Ehrhard Reid, Department of Health and Senior Services 1:05 – 1:10 p.m. 
  • Public Testimony, 1:10 – 2:55 p.m. 
  • Julie Murray 1:10 – 1:25 p.m.
  • Jennifer Green, St. Luke’s Health Care, 1:25 – 1:40 p.m.
  • Dr. Jennifer Hansen, Children’s Mercy, 1:40 – 1:55 p.m.
  • Joe Taylor, Private Attorney, 1:55 – 2:10 p.m. 
  • Amy Fite, Christian County Prosecuting Attorney, 2:10 – 2:25 p.m
  • Kristi Patterson, Ripley County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, 2:25 – 2:40 p.m.
  • Final Questions and Closing, 2:40 – 3 p.m. 
  • Adjournment, 3 p.m.