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Domestic Violence And Sexual Assault Forums Coming Up

Sept. 13, 2008 — The Justice and Police departments are looking for ideas on ways to improve the processing of domestic violence and sexual assault cases handled by prosecutors, judges, police, health care providers and victim advocates.
To gather this information, the departments will hold community forums at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Legislature building on St. John and at 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation on St. Thomas.
A forum scheduled for Friday on St. Croix was postponed to a date yet to be determined because it didn't get enough advance publicity.
Iris Kern, a special adviser on domestic violence and sexual assault for Police Commissioner James McCall and Attorney General Vincent Frazer, will lead the forums.
"I'm doing some major research as a requisite to looking at policy change," Kern said.
Kern received input from "front-line" people, but she said she wants to hear from the community how professionals involved with domestic violence and sexual assault cases handle them.
"People have differing experiences," she said.
According to Kern, efforts by the Women's Coalition of St. Croix have given those on St. Croix who handle domestic violence and sexual assault cases a better understanding of how to do their jobs.
The situation isn't the same on St. Thomas and St. John where advocate organizations don't have as strong a presence as the Women's Coalition.
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