“Our Response Just Wasn’t Good Enough:” Overhauling our Criminal Justice Response to Sexual Assault

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90 Minutes

Originally Aired
April 21, 2022

Karen Kugler
Karen Kugler, JD
Prosecuting Attorney
Ramsey County Attorney’s Office
Jessica Bastil
Jessica Bastil
Sexual Violence Investigator
Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office
Eva Morrison
Eva Morrison, LGSW
Sexual Assault Response Project Manager
Ramsey County Attorney’s Office

In 2016, we knew there was something missing in the criminal justice response to sexual assault victims in Ramsey County, Minnesota. We were polite in our interactions with victims and we took victims’ wishes into account. We regularly took cases to trial and won many of them, but reporting rates were low and not increasing. Many victims dropped out of the process, and we didn’t always understand why. As Ramsey County Attorney John Choi described, “I knew deep down that our response just wasn’t good enough. Survivors weren’t getting the help they needed. We weren’t achieving justice for many victims.” That all began to change when Ramsey County embarked on a 6-year journey which resulted in sweeping changes to our criminal justice response.

This workshop will address how stakeholders from every law enforcement agency in the county, along with advocates and SANE nurses, joined the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office to develop the “Sexual Assault Response Collaboration (SARC).” Presenters will discuss how we overhauled the process: from initial report or forensic exam to the resulting actions of advocates, investigators, forensic nurse examiners, and prosecutors. We will also discuss the current phase of SARC, which includes the development of an inter-agency sex crimes task force and actionable measures to make systems changes sustainable.


As a result of this webinar, participants will be better able to:

  • Recognize the value of heightened collaboration to maintain survivor engagement while enhancing investigations and prosecutions.
  • Employ strategies for facilitating communication and resource sharing among all justice partners.
  • Identify tools for measuring system gaps, progress, and accountability.
  • Identify collaborative techniques to better serve at-risk populations.
  • Understand the importance of engaging survivors in systems change work.


EVAWI is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing to provide Continuing Education contact hours for nurses (Provider #15641). 

Registered Nurses may purchase 1.5 contact hours after completing this webinar.

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