ROCHESTER, Minn. - Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Rep. Tom Emmer are reintroducing a bipartisan bill that would promote trauma-informed response to sexual assault crimes.
The Abby Honald Act is inspired by Abby Honald, former University of Minnesota student and rape survivor, who helped create the piece of legislation four years ago.
It would require the Department of Justice to to award grants over the next two years to law enforcement agencies to implement trauma-informed training for responding to sexual assault cases.
Sgt. James Schueller of the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office says patrol staff are usually the first to respond to sexual assault calls. They gather basic facts, but are specifically directed to not interview the victim. That's left to a core group of detectives and investigators who have special training. If the Abby Honold Act passes, that could change.
"When you talk about these types of crimes, everything should be centered around the needs of the victim. They're the ones who should control the pace and the speed of the investigation and they get a lot of say and they should have a lot of say in how it progresses through the system," says Sgt. Schueller.
The bill could possibly allow OCSO to expand its training to more people on staff. "I could see where it would even benefit having patrol staff get trained as some level to this, because even that initital response kind of sets the stage for when an investigator or detective comes out there. So I think at all levels of law enforcement it could help... You never stop learning," he says. "This type of legislation that's getting put out there again is fantastic... our job is to help, and any training that can get out there, any legislation is phenomenal."
Abby Honold tweeted Monday saying she has "a good feeling it's going to pass this time," adding that "trauma informed questioning is a basic thing every victim of a violent crime should have access to."