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On Tuesday, you can help shape public policy regarding the rights of sexual assault victims.

The Missouri Rights of Victims of Sexual Assault Task Force will hold an online public hearing from 1-3 p.m. Tuesday. The task force is inviting members of the public to listen to the hearing, which will focus on recommendations to support sexual assault victims and conduct investigations.

Various experts will speak at the meeting, and the public also will have an opportunity to testify to the committee.

This is the second of four public hearings, with each having a specific topic. This hearing's topic is "standards and practices." The next two hearings will be Sept. 22 (survivor privacy) and Sept. 28 (evidence collection).

Information will be provided with details on how to listen to the sessions once it becomes available at https://dps.mo.gov/dir/programs/cvsu/task-force.php.

The task force is also seeking comments and suggestions from the public on how to strengthen protections and services for Missouri sexual assault victims, according to a Missouri Department of Public Safety news release. Comments and suggestions are being gathered through an online survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MORightsTaskForce. The survey closes Sept. 30.

Join the WebEx online meeting at stateofmo.webex.com/stateofmo/j.php?MTID=m11e1d57a8f65a4c16cbf6f5cc9a0aa40. You can also join by phone by dialing 1-650-479-3207. The meeting number/access code is 177 034 4589 and the meeting password is YWyeCEzS344.

We're glad to see these public hearings from the task force, which was created through a new state law last year. The task force must submit a report on its findings to Gov. Mike Parson and the Legislature by the end of the year.

Missouri has made improvements in services for sexual assault victims. What else is needed? If you have suggestions — or just want to learn more — we urge you to take part in this process.

News Tribune

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