U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar spoke in the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of the Abby Honold Act—bipartisan legislation that she introduced that would establish a training program for law enforcement to help them better investigate and interview traumatized sexual assault victims.
“Victim-centered training,” she explained, “So that when there is a rape victim law enforcement has to do their job and follow the rules, but they’re thinking about their interaction with the victim and what the effect of that is.”
Amanda Nguyen was raped while attending Harvard University in 2013, and later founded the nonprofit Rise, which works to protect the civil rights of sexual assault survivors. She said it’s critical that victims have an opportunity to work with investigators that have trauma training because, “Trauma has the ability, as many medical studies have shown, to distort things in the moments right after it.”
Former Dallas County, Texas prosecutor Cindy Dyer said it’s not just important for that specific survivor, but also those that are victimized in the future, “Because advocates will hear about it and that will get around to other survivors. So, how one survivor is treated will determine how many survivors will take that step and report.
The act is named for Abby Honold, who was raped in 2014 while attending the University of Minnesota. She said ineffective interview and investigation techniques were behind the more than one-year gap between her assault and charges being filed against her attacker.