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Legislation was inspired by Abby Honold, a former University of Minnesota student and rape survivor, and Officer Kevin Randolph, who helped Abby win her case against her perpetrator 

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar introduced companion legislation in the Senate

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06) reintroduced the Abby Honold Act, legislation to help law enforcement investigate and prosecute sexual assault cases while improving care and treatment for victims.

Specifically, the bill will create a grant program to train law enforcement agencies willing to participate, in evidence-based, trauma-informed interview techniques to prevent re-traumatization of victims, improve communication between victims and law enforcement, and ensure accurate and complete information is submitted to law enforcement.

Emmer stated: “Sexual assault is a crime and it is vital for law enforcement to have accurate and complete information to prosecute it as such,” Emmer added, “For Abby, and for the thousands of victims who experience trauma, this is a key part of their recovery process, as is a compassionate response in the immediate aftermath. We are taking an important step forward to provide better treatment to sexual assault victims in crisis and making certain it is treated like the heinous crime it is.”

Background:

When University of Minnesota student Abby Honold reported her rape to police in 2014, the trauma she experienced prevented her brain from recalling important details about the crime that occurred - ones which would have immediately led to the prosecution of the perpetrator.

When a person experiences trauma, the cognitive part of their brain which records events, the prefrontal cortex, shuts down. Interview techniques to acquire needed facts from victims are designed to tap into this cognitive part of the brain, leaving those who have experienced trauma unable to recall critical details and information to help prosecute their perpetrator.

Fortunately for Abby, she was taken to the hospital and cared for by a nurse who was trained to use a trauma-informed interviewing method. The nurse utilized her trauma-informed training to access another part of Abby’s brain, by asking questions about what she smelled, tasted, heard and other sensory information. Through her nurse’s compassion and expertise, Abby was able to recall the important details which ultimately aided the investigation of her case and led to the successful prosecution of her perpetrator.

Inspired by her story, I worked with Senator Klobuchar to introduce the Abby Honold Act in both chambers of Congress during the 115th Congress. I am proud to reintroduce this legislation during the 116th Congress. This legislation is focused on helping our law enforcement officers improve the way they interview victims in crisis through the use of evidence-based, trauma-informed interview techniques.

Read the full text of the Abby Honold Act here.

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