Supporting Survivors of Sexual Assault
It’s been an honor to team up with my colleague and friend, Leah Griffin on the SAFE ( Sexual Assault Forensic Examination) task force. She has been a powerful voice for survivors.
Sadly, our state has a broken system that failed victims. We had over 10,000 untested kits.
In 2015, I passed legislation to ensure all kits would be tested and the creation of the SAFE Task Force.
Working together along with survivors, the AG’s office, law enforcement, prosecutors, and advocates, we have been creating a system to support survivors.
- Statewide tracking system where a survivor can check the status of their kit
- Mandatory testing of every kit when the survivor wants to pursue charges
- Creation of a high throughput lab which, after we eliminate the backlog, will test every kit within 45 days
- Trauma-informed training for law enforcement
- Resources for investigating these older cases
Now we have a system provides a pathway for justice for survivors and is holding serial rapists accountable.
In 2014, in her darkest hour, after losing her husband to suicide, Professor Jenn Stuber brought myself and nationally recognized Suicide Prevention trainer, Sue Eastgard, together to see what actions our state could do to strengthen suicide prevention work and save precious lives.
Since that time, they founded UW Forefront, an excellence center for suicide prevention and we have, along with providers and survivors, passed 9 bills to address this critical issue. Proudly, we became the first state to require suicide prevention training of all health care provider including advanced training for behavioral health specialists.
In addition, we have passed legislation to require suicide prevention plans and trainings in K-12, more mental health resources in higher education, and programs providing supports to veterans and those most at risk.