Bill establishes trauma-informed training programs for law enforcement
Legislation is inspired by Abby Honold, a former University of Minnesota student and sexual assault survivor
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Cornyn (R-TX) and Representative Tom Emmer (R-MN) announced that their bipartisan legislation to promote the use of trauma-informed techniques by law enforcement when responding to sexual assault crimes, the Abby Honold Act, was signed into law. In addition to Emmer, Representative Annie Kuster (D-NH) led the companion legislation in the House.
The Abby Honold Act is inspired by Abby Honold, a former student of the University of Minnesota and sexual assault survivor, who has worked to increase awareness and use of trauma-informed techniques.
“As we work to support survivors like Abby, we need to provide law enforcement with the training and skills they need to best engage with and help victims,” said Klobuchar. “Now that the Abby Honold Act is signed into law, we can help ensure that law enforcement uses the most effective techniques to respond to these critical investigations.”
“Law enforcement have a big role in the recovery process of sexual assault victims, from collecting information about the attack to bringing the attacker to justice,” said Cornyn. “Making a victim feel comfortable and cared for requires a compassionate response, and our bill ensures law enforcement have the trauma-informed training they need to help deliver justice for victims.”
“Sexual assault is a life-shattering event, the trauma of which can be compounded by improper care,” said Emmer. “The Abby Honold Act will equip first responders with valuable healing tools and give a voice to survivors.”
“When I was sexually assaulted as a college student, one of the most traumatic parts of the aftermath was trying to report it. I never want another survivor of sexual assault to feel that way. I am so hopeful for what this bill can accomplish and how many victims it can impact; being treated with care and respect is something that every survivor deserves, and I hope that this is step can be one of many towards a fairer and kinder process for victims of sexual assault,” said Abby Honold.
The Abby Honold Act establishes a demonstration program to provide federal funding for law enforcement to incorporate trauma-informed techniques and evidence-based practices in trainings on how to respond to sexual assault crimes. By preventing re-traumatization of the victim and improving communication between victims and law enforcement officers, the bill increases the likelihood of successfully investigating and prosecuting alleged sexual assault crimes.
Specifically, the bill requires the Justice Department to award grants over the next two fiscal years to law enforcement agencies which provide training on the use of evidence-based, trauma-informed practices throughout an investigation into sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking.