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Welcome to the second issue of the New Orleans Sexual Assault Response Team Quarter Newsletter! In this issue, you'll find information on a Public Safety Millage; information on Sexual Assault Awareness Month and a Calendar of Community Events for April; an interview with SART Coordinator Amanda Tonkovich, LMSW; profiles of the NOPD Special Victims Section Detective of the Month for February and March 2016; and information for survivors
Public Safety Millage
On April 9, 2016, New Orleans will be asked to vote for a public safety millage of 7.5 mills. A "mill" is one one-thousandth of a dollar, and in property tax terms is equal to $1.00 of tax for each $1,000 of assessment. Five mills will be dedicated solely to the recruiting, hiring, and training of new officers for the New Orleans Police Department. (The remaining 2.5 mills is for fire protection.) 

Due to a hiring freeze that lasted several years, and natural attrition, the NOPD is well below its target of 1,600 officers. In order to reach the goal of 1,600 by 2020, NOPD must hire an additional 185 officers per year. To this end, NOPD's goal is to hold four police academy classes a year beginning in 2016, which average between 30 to 35 recruits per class, as stipulated by the Consent Decree.

An academy class is six months, and then recruits have 16 weeks of field training before they officially join the NOPD. In addition of these new officers, more experienced and trained officers can then be promoted to special units, such as the Special Victims Services (SVS) - Sexual Assault Unit. Ideally, SVS would be assigned two new detectives from each class until the unit is fully staffed (one to sex crimes and one to child abuse). 

NOPD Sex Crimes unit currently has eight detectives, and based on the number of sexual assaults reported year-to-date for 2016 (175 reported cases), their case load is already averaging 20+ cases per detective. National Best Practices standards set the maximum number of cases at between 25 - 35 per year. Thus, NOPD sex crime detectives, who are projected to deal with 700 cases this year, will be significantly above best practices at over 80 cases per detective. It is crucial to note that the significant increase in reported cases is believed to be a result of more victims coming forward rather than more assaults occurring.

In order to comply with best practice standards, the SVS unit should be staffed with an additional 12 detectives, for an optimum number of 20. This millage, as proposed, should, over time, allow for an increased detective force, properly trained according to best practices standards approved by the Department of Justice.

You can find your polling location or information on voter registration at!
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) in the United States, the goal of which is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and increase community education on prevention. More information can be found at the National Sexual Violence Resource Center

National Statistics
  • It is estimated that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives.
  • Rape is the most under-reported crime; it is believed that 63% of assaults are not reported to law enforcement. 
  • Two-thirds of adult sexual assault survivors know their attackers.
  • The year in a male's life when is most likely to be the victim of a sexual assault is age 4; a female's greatest risk is at age 14.
  • Every 107 seconds, another American is sexually assaulted.
  • Only 3% of rapists ever serve jail time.
Louisiana State Statistics
  • Over 1,000 women are raped in Louisiana annually.
  • The rate of sexual assault in Louisiana is approximately 27.3 per 100,000 residents.
  • Louisiana is ranked 14th nationally for the number of reported forcible rapes per 100,000 people.
  • It is estimated that only 28% of sexual assaults in Louisiana are reported to law enforcement.
  • The highest number of sexual assaults are reported in the metropolitan areas of Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Shreveport.
New Orleans Statistics
  • NOPD has seen a significant increase in reported cases of sexual assault over the past several years:
    • 2012 = 136 reported
    • 2013 = 176 reported
    • 2014 = 286 reported
    • 2015 = 409 reported
  • As of April 1, 2016, 175 sexual assaults have been reported to NOPD (year-to-date).
  • It is believed that this increase is due to more victims coming forward, not an increase in assaults.
  • The NOPD sex crimes unit now has three social workers on staff to assist victims at every level of the investigation; survivor feedback has been overwhelming positive.
Calendar of Community Events

Project Clothesline
Location: Pederson Lobby, Lavin Bernick Center, Tulane University Uptown Campus
Host: Sexual Assault Peer Hotline and Prevention (SAPHE) at Tulane University
Description: This program is a vehicle for women affected by violence to express their emotions by decorating a shirt and displaying it hanging on a clothesline to be viewed by others as a testimony to the problem of violence against women. 
Contact: or for more information

Screening of The Hunting Ground 
6pm - 9pm
Location: City Diner, Lavin Bernick Center, Tulane University Uptown Campus
Host: Public Health United Student Government (PHUSG) at Tulane University
Description: You are invited to attend a screening of The Hunting Ground, the critically lauded 2015 documentary that explores the prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses.  Directed by Kirby Dick, the documentary focuses on the cases of Andrea Pino and Emily Clark, former students of UNC Chapel Hill. 
Contact: or for more information

Darkness to Light Training
9:00am - 11:30am
Location: New Orleans Child Advocacy Center, 20o Henry Clay Avenue
Host: New Orleans Child Advocacy Center
Description: Stewards of Children is an evidence-informed prevention solution that increases knowledge, improves attitudes, and changes child protective behaviors through the use of real stories and experiences.

Sexual Assault Statistics and Resources Balloons 
Location: McAlister Walkway, Tulane University Uptown Campus
Host: PHUSG at Tulane University
Description: PHUSG will be hosting an event to share information and resources about sexual health and sexual assault.  Stop by and pick up and balloon and take charge of your well-being during Public Health Week 2016!
Contact: or for more information

11th Annual Trees for Life
3pm - 4:30pm
Location: Children's Hospital, Garden Room, 1040 Calhoun Street
Host: New Orleans Child Advocacy Center
Description: Trees for Life is a tradition of distributing trees in memory of each Louisiana child who has died the prior year as a result of abuse. At the event, community members gather to honor these children and make a commitment to implement prevention strategies that will strengthen families and prevent future harm to children.

Reception honoring Rannah Gray, Author of Familiar Evil
6pm - 8pm
Location: 1456 Camp Street
Host: New Orleans Child Advocacy Center
Description: Gray will give us a deeper look at an investigation that sends shockwaves from Louisiana to London. Familiar Evil tells the story of one man's international search for a child predator.

TuTu Walk for Sexual Assault Awareness
Location: Starts at the corner of Port and Chartres 
Host: Silence is Violence

Purple & Blue Peace Day
In Support of Women and Child Abuse Prevention
Host: Silence is Violence

Drinks for a Cause: benefitting Silence is Violence and partnering agencies
6pm - 10pm
Location: The Rusty Nail, 1100 Constance Street

Lantern Memorial for Victims of Violence
Location: Orleans Avenue and Jefferson Davis Parkway
Host: Silence is Violence

Kendra Scott Give Back Day
12pm - 3pm
Location: Kendra Scott store at 5757 Magazine Street
Host: Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response (STAR)
Description: 20% of your purchase will be donated to Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response 

Prayer Vigil In Memory of Kenneth Hall
Location: Marr Avenue and Dooner Street, Algiers

APRIL 15, 16, and 17
Hers, Theirs, Ours 
Location: Kendall Cram, Lavin Bernick Center, Tulane University Uptown Campus
Host: Hers, Ours, Togehter (HTO) at Tulane University
Description: HTO is a Tulane University original production & community (formerly The Vagina Monologues) combatting gender-based violence as women & non-binary folks. The aim of HTO is to create conversation about what it means to experience gender-based violence as women and non-binary & gender non-conforming folks, to open up this conversation to those who have been denied access to the Vagina Monologues community on basis of gender, and to acknowledge that all experiences of gendered oppression cannot and should not be homogenized across class, race, ability and various other identities.
Contact: or for more information

Women's Empowerment Seminar
12:30pm - 2:30 pm
Location: Triumph Krav Maga, 2901 General De Gaulle
Description: Develop the right mindset, confident body language, verbal self-defense skills, and physical preparedness to maintain personal safety and use practical self-protection strategies in a fun and cooperative learning environment. No previous Krav Maga experience or training is necessary to participate. These seminars are open to members and non-members ages 13 & up. Ages 13-15 must be accompanied by an adult. Free event. 
Contact: 504.324.5705 for more information

Pay It Forward Happy Hour
5:30pm - 8:30pm
Location: Eiffel Society, 2040 St. Charles Avenue
Host: STAR
Description: 20% of bar sales will be donated to STAR

Painting With A Purpose
6pm - 9pm
Location: Painting With A Twist, 700 Dublin Street
Host: STAR
Description: 50% of your ticket price will be donated to STAR
Interview with Amanda Tonkovich, LMSW

Amanda Tonkovich, the coordinator of the NOLA SART program, was kind enough to sit down and answer a few questions for our first profile of a member of the SART team. In each Quarterly Newsletter, we will profile a member of the SART community, including law enforcement officers, social workers, and supporting organizations.
Can you provide a brief history of your education and professional experience that led you to SART?

My background is in social work with a wide range of organizations, but I have always been especially passionate about empowering girls and women. I was lucky enough to do my internship at the Family Justice Center when I went back to school to get my Masters in Social Work, and to get hired on staff as a counselor and SART coordinator after that.
Can you give a brief description of your role with the FJC and how you interact with Sexual Assault survivors as a counselor?
As a counselor at the Family Justice Center, I see survivors of trauma including sexual assault, domestic violence, and childhood sexual abuse. Counseling and working closely with survivors throughout their healing process is definitely my favorite part of the job. It not only keeps me grounded and brings focus to many of the gaps that we address through SART, but I also get to partner with awesome and inspiring people and see strength, knowledge, creativity, and change emerge out of devastating events.
Can you provide a brief description on how the team has grown to include so many community organizations, and how that may differ from the typical SART model? 

The NOLA SART was formed in 2012 as a requirement of the NOPD consent decree, as research has shown that a victim-centered and effective response to sexual assault is best achieved in a multi-disciplinary setting where all responders are interacting and learning from each other. Often SARTs are limited to a small core group of individuals (law enforcement, prosecutors [DA’s office], Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners [SANE] program, and victim-service organizations). However, our SART is unique in the sense that, in addition to these core members, it has grown to include over 20 community organizations, including a variety of social service organizations, university and military staff and advocates, counselors, prevention practitioners, etc. With the energy and people power of this group, we have been able to effectively cross-train, share information, influence policy and work on a variety of projects beyond improving the core response.

What has been your role in the set-up and continued operations of SART?

In 2012, we were granted technical assistance through OVW (Office on Violence Against Women) which helped us through the initial mapping, planning, and goal setting processes. Since then my role has really been as a facilitator and connector—coordinating monthly meetings, keeping the group focused on filling gaps and being trauma-informed in our response, coordinating trainings, sharing information and providing opportunities for responders across disciplines to network and partner in an increasingly seamless manner. I also work closely with the NOPD sex crimes unit, the multidisciplinary case review team, the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on SA, survivors and other stakeholders to coordinate and enhance our efforts.
Could you name the SART accomplishment of which you are most proud? 

That’s a hard one. I have been amazed at what the SART has been able to accomplish in the last few years from being a major force behind the SA legislation passed last summer and advocating to keep the SANE program which was in jeopardy when our hospital changed hands, to creating tangible solutions to better support survivors such as the Survivor’s Guide and increasing the partnership between advocates and law enforcement. I think what I am most proud of is the collaborative nature of the group: no matter what their piece of the puzzle, everyone who comes to SART brings their strengths to the table to create a community response that increasingly supports survivors and holds offenders accountable.
What is an outstanding goal of SART that you would most like to see achieved?

Again, so many options! The SART has recently created committees to work on specific issues such as prevention, communication with the community at large, better addressing the needs of survivors experiencing homelessness, etc. I am excited to see the projects coming out of these committees and expanding our focus to prevention and sharing resources and information with the community at large. I believe an increase in awareness and a shift in our culture to one that believes and supports survivors is the only way we can truly increase safety, reduce trauma, and promote healing. Longer term, I am very interested in implementing a program in New Orleans that allows survivors more control over the process of reporting a sexual assault and focuses on holding serial perpetrators accountable. Programs like “You Have Options” in Oregon ( and “Callisto” in California ( seem like the next step in sexual assault response.

NOPD SVS Detective of the Month February 2016

Detective Jessica K. Williams has been employed with the New Orleans Police Department for eight years, and was assigned to the Special Victims - Sex Crimes Unit in 2015.

Detective Williams's most memorable investigation to date was that of a 15-year-old female who was forced into prostitution at the age of 13. Detective Williams was able to identify the subjects involved and issued arrest warrants for all perpetrators. Additionally, Detective Williams was able to assist in relocating the survivor and her family out-of-state for safety and a new beginning. The young woman is currently doing well and preparing to graduate from high school next spring.

NOPD SVS Detective of the Month March 2016

Detective Herman Franklin just celebrated his 26th anniversary with the New Orleans Police Department, having joined the force on March 3, 1990. He joined the Special Victims - Sex Crimes Unit in March 2015.

Detective Franklin's most memorable case to date occurred in November 2015. The victim, seven-months pregnant at the time, was sexually assault by an unknown male armed with a handgun. A CODIS hit eventually came back identifying the suspect. When Detective Franklin contacted the survivor to inform her of the hit, he learned that her baby was born healthy and full of life. The victim was most appreciative of Detective Franklin's dedication and concern. A warrant has been issued for the suspect's arrest.
Information for Survivors
If you are an adult in the Greater New Orleans Area and have been sexually assaulted, go to:
(SAFE Center) Emergency Department
University Medical Center
2001 Tulane Avenue New Orleans
(504) 702-4542

For children who have been sexually abused, go to:
Audrey Hepburn CARE Center
Children's Hospital
200 Henry Clay Avenue, New Orleans 70118
(504) 896-9237
Contact NOLA SART:
24/7 crisis line: 504-866-9554


Survivor Handbook

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