Every Minnesota law enforcement agency should have a protocol for sex assault investigations — among many recommendations of a special task force called by Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson. She says the panel also suggests agencies draw from a number of disciplines when investigating sex assaults, “where prosecutors and advocates and forensic medical examiners, SANE nurses [sexual assault nurse examiners], victim advocates sit around the table and they talk about how in that jurisdiction cases can be better prosecuted and better investigated.”
The group also recommends more prosecutor involvement, a statewide coordinating council and ongoing audits to make sure sex assault cases are properly investigated and prosecuted.
The panel also says law enforcement agencies should be required to report aggregate data on what they do about sex assault allegations they receive. Swanson says the public should know how many sex assault cases are investigated, prosecuted and result in convictions. “I think that type of accountability and reporting is really important, because it allows the public to have a sense of how these cases are being handled and where the system may be working and where there may be gaps in the system,” she says.
The task force also recommends statewide training for law enforcement and making it easier for victims to report sexual assaults