Legislature(2015 - 2016)CAPITOL 106
03/31/2015 08:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS
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SCR 6-SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MONTH:APRIL 2015 8:07:13 AM CHAIR LYNN announced that the first order of business would be SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 6, Proclaiming April 2015 as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. 8:07:33 AM EDNA MORELAND, Staff, Senator Kevin Meyer, Alaska State Legislature, explained that SCR 6 proclaims April 2015 as sexual assault awareness month which is an annual campaign to raise public awareness and educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual assault violence across the nation. She described sexual assault violence as a serious public health problem affecting one in five women, and one in seventy-one men in their lifetime. However, in Alaska, the rates are approximately two and one-half times the national average and, she noted, statistics do not [accurately] represent the problems as often victims do not report the violence to the police. Sexual assault violence can lead to long term physical and mental health problems; therefore, she pointed out that bringing awareness to the crime of sexual assault and recognizing the enormity of the problem can be properly addressed and prevented by lifting the veil of secrecy hiding these horrific crimes. 8:09:51 AM PEGGY BROWN, Executive Director, Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, advised that the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault is comprised of approximately 20 victim service agencies throughout the state. Sexual assault and sexual abuse of minors is a problem in Alaska and, she acknowledged there are many people performing good work in assisting victims and survivors. CHAIR LYNN asked Ms. Brown to describe two to three hurdles in reducing sexual violence, and where to start in that people may be reluctant to report the violence. MS. BROWN emphasized "prevention, prevention, prevention," in that sexual assault violence prevention education must be present in every area that male and female children and/or young adults reside and [the legislature] should review the criminal arena for improvement. She pointed out that in 2012 there were 804 reported cases of sexual assault and of those 804, 8 percent resulted in some type of correction, which sends the message "why should I report." She said she has asked attorneys in the legal system, Department of law attorneys, and paralegals, should they be sexually assaulted would they report, and eight out of ten said "No, because they just don't want to have to go through the long process." 8:12:37 AM CHAIR LYNN interjected "where the victim gets victimized twice." MS. BROWN agreed, and related that people want to move on even though they want the "bad guy" caught. She suggested shortening the time a criminal case is addressed, and truly investing in prevention work for sexual violence. She noted there has been a slow reduction in teen sexual violence within the past five years. CHAIR LYNN closed public testimony after ascertaining no one further wished to testify. 8:14:00 AM REPRESENTATIVE KELLER moved to report SCR 6 out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes. There being no objection, SCR 6 was reported from the House State Affairs Standing Committee.