Duluth Hosts National Sexual Assault Reform Conference

Alejandra Palacios
Updated: September 11, 2018 10:40 PM

DULUTH, Minn. - A national conference on sexual assault reform kicked off Tuesday at the DECC.

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The 2018 Sexual Assault Kit Initiative(SAKI) Assembly of Cities is a three day conference hosted annually where sectors working in sexual assault cases strategize solutions and efforts to continue helping victims and survivors.

Hosted in Duluth for the first time, the event was organized by the Duluth Police Department in partnership with the St. Louis County Attorney's Office, PAVSA, and SAKI.

The conference is focused on sexual assault reform efforts and practices.

"Come together and have conversations with each other about some of the challenges they’re facing. How they’re addressing those challenges, the successes they've had within the SAKI program, and addressing sexual assault response,” Dr. Patricia Melton, an RTI International senior research forensic scientist, said.

SAKI grantees throughout the country come together from disciplines like law enforcement, forensic science, and victim advocacy.

"Duluth is one of the smaller cities working on this issue. What we think is that if we can do it here and show some good successes and show some reforms, then that will help other smaller cities take on this issue as well," Mary Faulkner, a SAKI site coordinator, said.

The conference has breakout sessions on topics like identifying barriers, victim vulnerability, and sexual assault kits.

“Duluth Police Department was one of the sites that had a lot of untested sexual assault kits. We had a backlog of those. Now we’ve worked through that and we’ve got all our kits tested, “ Lieutenant Dan Chicos with the Duluth Police Department, said.

The conference is a gathering geared on the collaborative effort to continue helping and serving justice to victims and survivors.

"There’s just this explosion of shared ideas that come together and you just can’t do that through conference calls and emails,” Melton said.

The conference will be going on Wednesday and Thursday.


Alejandra Palacios

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