Funding/State Investment in Victim Services
This legislative session, MNCASA asked to increase Emergency Funds and Direct Client Assistance to support the needs of domestic and sexual violence and child abuse victims and the victims of other crimes, AND to provide annual funding for community-based programming including domestic abuse transformation programming and restorative and transformative justice initiatives. The Minnesota Office of Justice Programs has established Survivor Support and Prevention Grants to meet victim needs through grants to organizations serving victims of crime to either (1) provide direct financial assistance to victims in order to support their immediate financial needs and mitigate the impacts of crime, or (2) stop the cycles of violence by meeting emerging or unmet needs impacting victims of crime.
Criminal Sexual Conduct Statutory Reforms
The MN Dept. of Public Safety convened MNCASA and dozens of advocates, leaders in the legal response to sexual violence, and elected officials over the course of 18 months to create a list of reforms to the MN statutes that would address the effectiveness of, or harms caused by, public safety statutes in Minnesota related to sexual violence. A report was offered in January 2021, work from February through April with bill authors, committees, and people offering testimonies. These reforms were proposed in bills by both the Minnesota House and Senate, making their way into the Public Safety Finance Omnibus Bill. Governor Walz signed this into law on July 1, 2021, including all of the suggestions from the working group. Along with the Criminal Sexual Conduct Statutory reforms, the Omnibus bill includes a number of critical provisions related to reducing sexual violence and improving access and well-being for victims and survivors, including the elimination of the statute of limitations for criminal sexual conduct crimes.
Speaking (at) the Capitol
MNCASA testified to the Public Safety Committee in January 2021 on the needs and challenges of rural programs offering advocacy and resources in Greater Minnesota. In February 2021, MNCASA testified to the Education Policy Committee in favor of comprehensive sex education through a proposed sexual health education model that would be required by the Commissioner of Education. This is a years-long effort that has yet to be passed, and MNCASA continues to support the house and senate bills that are proposed to include comprehensive sex education in schools.
The provisions of the Public Safety Finance Omnibus bill include the creation of an office of missing and murdered Indigenous women and a task force for missing and murdered African American women. MNCASA believes that It is our job as a community and advocates to say “ALL survivors deserve justice,” and in that vein, will increase our focus on ensuring BIPOC people in Minnesota have access to safety, affirmation, and systems that they can trust and use.