Attorney General Rosenblum today commemorated National Crime Victims’ Rights Week by speaking at a community event sponsored by the Oregon Department of Justice and Portland State University (PSU). Victim advocates, students, educators, law enforcement, prosecutors and civil attorneys gathered for the two-hour event at PSU’s Native American Student and Community Center to honor the work of the Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force and participate in a panel discussion regarding survivor’s rights and campus sexual assault.
The panel of experts included Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill; Meg Garvin, Executive Director of the National Crime Victim Law Institute; Phil Zerzan, Chief of PSU Campus Public Safety; Stacy Hankin, Attorney at Victim Rights Law Center; Julie Caron, PSU Title IX Coordinator and Letitia Wilson; Executive Director of Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence.
“Bringing these dedicated professionals together to participate in this important discussion is a truly momentous occasion. Today’s collaboration further indicates that Oregonians are invested in making meaningful change and creating safer communities for victims and survivors. Over the past several years, we have gained a better understanding of sexual assault, domestic violence and human trafficking—but our work in Oregon must continue. We need to continue to come together to make sure that we protect and support victims every step on their road to recovery,” said Attorney General Rosenblum.
The Attorney General opened the seminar by urging the Oregon legislature to pass stronger confidentiality laws for victims of campus sexual assault. Currently, Oregon HB 3476 is awaiting a vote in the Oregon Senate, after unanimously passing out of the Oregon House. Under existing federal Title IX laws, students who seek help from a campus victim advocate face the risk of triggering an intimidating and invasive administrative process. Title IX laws require colleges and universities to investigate all disclosures of assault on campus, regardless of a victim’s wishes. Under Title IX laws, schools can recognize state laws that establish confidentiality protection for victim advocates, but currently Oregon law offers no such protection. This legislation would give confidentiality protections to victims’ advocates and others on campus.
To kick-off National Crime Victims Week, the Attorney General yesterday opened the annual training for the state’s 36 multi-disciplinary child abuse investigation teams (MDTs). MDTs are comprised of child welfare case workers, medical personnel, prosecutors, law enforcement and victim services programs.
Kristina Edmunson, Department of Justice, Kristina.Edmunson@doj.state.or.us, 503-378-6002