MADISON, Wis. – Attorney General Brad Schimel, previous recipient of the Wisconsin Victim Witness Professionals’ “Professional of the Year” Award, has been fighting on behalf of crime victims for 28 years as a prosecutor. As Attorney General, Schimel has made supporting victims of sexual assault one of his top priorities. In addition to solving the statewide issue of untested sexual assault kits, Attorney General Schimel’s work on behalf of sexual assault survivors continues this week with a Wisconsin Department of Justice training, hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP) for local and campus partners, to tackle the tough issues surrounding the investigation of campus sexual assault.
“On college campuses, student safety is a shared responsibility between the campus and surrounding community,” said Attorney General Schimel. “When a victim of sexual assault comes forward, the campus and the community officials must be able to work together to support the survivor and provide the justice survivors deserve. I’m excited to provide DOJ’s expertise in trauma-informed response to sexual assault so that survivors of sexual assault will know that the necessary support will be there to them. I also am very grateful to UWSP for hosting this important event and want to particularly thank UW System President Ray Cross and UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank for their generosity in providing individuals to speak on this topic.”
The campus sexual assault response training provided by DOJ included attendees from city, county, and campus law enforcement, sexual assault nurse examiners, campus officials, victim advocates, and prosecutors. These experts discussed methods to partner together to more effectively address campus sexual assault and protect victims and campus communities. “We sent Stevens Point police officers to this training because we know that working together is the best way to support victims, hold perpetrators accountable and keep the community safe from sex offenders,” said Stevens Point Police Chief Martin Skibba.
Panel discussions included the issue of consent and non-consent, the special dynamics when alcohol is involved in gender-based crimes, techniques for trauma-informed interviewing the suspect/respondent with an eye toward obtaining information that can be investigated, and finally, investigating with the goal of corroboration. Survivors of campus sexual assault also addressed the conference and provided attendees with their perspective about how best to support victims. “The stories of survivors highlighted the importance of collaboration, including the role of advocates to help survivors navigate the system. Their courage unified the group and set a great tone for the training,” said Taume Kohl, a sexual assault advocate from Association for Prevention of Family Violence in Elkhorn.
The next campus sexual assault training will be held at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, as part of the sexual assault response training pilot program. For more information or to learn how to register for this event please contact the Wisconsin Department of Justice at 608-264-6377.
The training was provided by the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Department of Law Enforcement Services in conjunction with the Office of Crime Victim Services.