School of Nursing professor named to AG’s sexual assault work group

September 13, 2018

Carolyn PortaSchool of Nursing Professor Carolyn Porta, PhD, RN, FAAN, is one of 10 statewide experts named to a sexual assault investigation work group by Attorney General Lori Swanson. The group, made up of leaders in the areas of victim advocacy, health care and law enforcement, will make recommendations to the Legislature to improve state laws and policies regarding sexual assault and the criminal justice system’s treatment of these crimes.

Porta’s research expertise includes sexual violence prevention and response, and she is a sexual assault nurse examiner. She also serves on the editorial review board for the Journal of Forensic Nursing.

“I've cared for victims of sexual assault for 22 years as a sexual assault nurse examiner, and I have worked closely with advocates and officers to support the victim in every aspect – physically, emotionally, socially and legally,” said Porta. “The process of care and response has evolved in the last two decades and we know it can continue to improve.”

The work group’s formation comes after the Star Tribune series, Denied Justice, documenting how Minnesota law enforcement agencies have failed to investigate sexual assaults.

Minnesota does not have mandated training or uniform policies for the investigation of sexual assault crimes. The work group is expected to explore best practices, training programs and allocation of resources.

In addition to Porta, the work group includes former Minneapolis City Council Member Barb Johnson, Midwest Children’s Resource Center Medical Director Mark Hudson, Isanti County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Lisa Lovering, Minnesota Indian Woman’s Sexual Assault Coalition Executive Director Nicole Matthews, Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault Executive Director Teri Walker McLaughlin, Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women Executive Director Elizabeth Richards, Inver Grove Heights Police Chief Paul Schnell, St. Paul Police Sgt. Nichole Sipes and Anoka County Attorney’s office Criminal Division Chief Paul Young.

The first work group meeting will take place Sept. 18.