Missouri task force on sexual assault seeks public input in survey

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 8:27 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The Missouri Rights of Victims of Sexual Assault Task Force is looking for feedback from the public and survivors of sexual assault in a new survey. That feedback will lead to policy changes, including when a survivor of sexual assault reports a crime, they feel as comfortable and supported as possible.

Missouri State Senator Jill Schupp is a member of the task force and says the public survey is aimed at making changes to the criminal justice system at a state level.

”It is the only way we can stop what happened to them from happening to somebody else is when we start understanding what happened to them, go after the perpetrators and know they were treated well during the process,” Senator Schupp says.

The task force’s goal is to collect feedback to develop the best care and treatment of survivors moving forward. Senator Schupp says the task force will submit a report on its findings to the governor and Missouri General Assembly by the end of the year.

“We will create law based upon your input and your experiences so what you have to say matters,” Senator Schupp says.

Executive Director at The Victim Center Brandi Bartel says most survivors have a basic understanding of the criminal justice process. As a result of that, Bartel says there’s misinformation out there.

Bartel hopes the task force adds providing this information to survivors to their priority list.

“Allocate more resources to helping victims understand where to go, how to report crimes, what their rights are,” Bartel says.

Bartel says survivors can often get flooded with information all at once, which can be overwhelming. She says the state task force is taking steps in the right direction to make change. However, Bartel says survivors may have some mistrust in the criminal justice system.

“Traumatic experiences that did not result in obtaining the justice that they would like to find because oftentimes the criminal justice system can be slow,” Bartel says. “Oftentimes survivors report feeling like they were blamed or shamed, even from people outside of the criminal justice system.”

Bartel says a potential barrier to survivors completing the survey is that the responses could be included in a public report, so comments shouldn’t include personal information that people wouldn’t want public.

However, Senator Schupp says you can remain anonymous when completing the survey.

“When you share the thoughts about how you wish something had been handled differently or better or how you believe something was really well handled, it helps inform our decisions,” Senator Schupp says.

The survey closes on September 30. You can fill out the survey here.

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