Sexual Assault Task Force Narrowing Focus

The Springfield Sexual Assault Task Force is starting to narrow focus onto items they feel the City Council can do to take action fighting sexual assault problems in the city.

In their most recent meeting, a common thread seemed to run through all the topics up for discussion: the importance of communication in all aspects of dealing with sexual violence in the region.

One of the topics of discussion was the necessity for a community wide survey on social norms, attitudes and understanding of sexual assault and violence. The data collected from the survey would be used to build an information and education campaign that could be used throughout the city.

The educational campaigns would take place through the City’s public safety initiatives. The campaigns would promote a trauma-focused approach to dealing with the problems.

Another topic of discussion is finding ways to make sure that citizens who have a disability, language barrier or cultural barriers have a way to report offenses against them and that there is a system in place to be able to communicate with them throughout the entire legal process.

Another issue the task force is examining is the creation of a victim’s court for sexual assault cases, similar to the Greene County drug court.

The Task Force also found an issue that they felt is seriously needed in the area but because it’s not under the purview of the City Council, there’s nothing that can be done about it: ongoing education for judges regarding the issues surrounding sexual assault. The task force definitively found a need for education in that area but as an independent branch of government, the judges themselves would need to call for that education and training.

The Task Force is still forming their final proposals for City Council and will have another work session near the end of May for refinement of issues discussed at the most recent meeting.