Dem AGs, Sexual Assault Awareness Month Is About More Than Just One Month
April 30, 2019
Yesterday, we closed out Sexual Assault Awareness Month with a Twitter Town Hall with Emerge America, UltraViolet, SurvJustice, Massachusetts AG Maura Healey, Michigan AG Dana Nessel and other leaders around the country, to highlight the important work Democratic AGs are doing 24/7/365 with local and national partners to prevent sexual assault, fight for justice for survivors, and hold responsible parties accountable. They are using legal tools and the leadership of their office to address sexual assault and work towards progress on this important issue.
Here are just a few key examples of Democratic AGs at work in their states:
- Oregon: DAGA Co-Chair Oregon AG Ellen Rosenblum presides over the Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force. The SATF addresses sexual violence in Oregon through position papers, manuals, trainings, technical assistance, legislative and policy efforts, and primary prevention efforts. The Sexual Assault Training Institute, Prevention Program, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program, and the Campus Program are all within the SATF.
- New Jersey: In March 2019, New Jersey AG Gurbir Grewal announced at the New Jersey Conference on Sexual Violence hosted by Rutgers University Center on Violence Against Women and Children that all 21 county prosecutors in the state will hold forums at colleges this coming Fall as part of his effort to address the issue of sexual assault on campus.
- Michigan: Michigan AG Dana Nessel oversees the investigations into sexual assault around the US Women’s Olympic Gymnastics team and into Catholic church leadership, calling for transparency and for thorough and complete investigations. There is a section on her website’s homepage called “Sexual Assault by the Numbers” which was created to educate on what can be done to combat sexual assault.
- Kentucky: In March 2019, Kentucky AG Andy Beshear launched Green Dot, a bystander violence prevention program for his entire office, and committed to extending this training to all Kentucky state employees if elected governor. This is the latest example of AG Beshear’s work to combat sexual assault, which includes launching the nation’s first-ever Survivors Council of victims of all violent crimes, a group that includes campus sexual assault survivors who advocate for victims’ rights in Kentucky and nationwide.
- Massachusetts: The victims/witness services division of the criminal bureau at Massachusetts AG Maura Healey’s DOJ provides services to survivors of sexual assault including medical care, mental health counseling and security measures.
- Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania AG Josh Shapiro released a bombshell report about the investigation into sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, prompting international calls for reform. Within the US, 45 other states have followed AG Shapiro’s leadership to conduct investigations or explore options for actions of their own.
Here are a few examples of Democratic AGs working together on national issues (that affect their states):
- In January, Pennsylvania AG Josh Shapiro, California AG Xavier Becerra, and New Jersey AG Grewal led a coalition of 19 Democratic AGs in submitting a formal comment letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos calling on federal officials to withdraw the proposed rule, that if implemented, would undermine anti-discrimination protections and weaken protections against sexual harassment and violence for students. Virginia AG Mark Herring, New York AG Tish James and Massachusetts AG Maura Healey respectively filed separate comment letters.
- A coalition of 20 Democratic AGs led by DAGA Co-chair District of Columbia AG Karl Racine, New Mexico AG Hector Balderas, and Pennsylvania AG Josh Shapiro urged Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to keep existing campus sexual assault protections under Title IX in place. The letter expressed the coalition’s concerns about how rollbacks in protections for survivors of sexual assault on college campuses would harm campus safety.
Democratic AGs will continue to take proactive measures to protect their constituents – including fighting back against the Trump Administration’s aggressive rollback of key Title IX protections and working in their states to prevent sexual assault and fight for justice.
Democratic Attorneys General currently hold office in 27 states, represent the majority of Americans, and the states responsible for the majority of the U.S. GDP (63.1%).