FAIRBANKS, Alaska When Senator Dan Sullivan was the Attorney General in Alaska in 2009, he worked with Governor Parnell to start the statewide Choose Respect initiative to focus on stopping the high rates of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child sexual abuse.
"When I was attorney general, the governor and I worked on this big issue, that was about ten years ago, this broad based strategy that the legislature and Alaskans all across the state supported with regard to our challenges, and they're big ones, with the big problem of domestic violence and sexual assault, in Alaska," said Sullivan, "to do more in terms of a public service campaign, penalties that would be tougher on perpetrators, more legal services for victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault."
Sullivan has been working to bring the campaign to the national stage. He sponsored the POWER Act which became law in September of last year to promote access to legal services for survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
"If you are a perpetrator of a crime, say an accused rapist, you get a 6th amendment right to counsel, that's under the constitution, but the victim of that crime gets nothing, and I think, and I think most Alaskans think that that victim should also have an attorney, that's a great way to help them break out of the cycle of violence that many women often find themselves in," said Sullivan.
This session, Sullivan is introducing three new bills, one which would be a national campaign AD to focus on young men to choose respect in their relationships, one to provide a statutory right to counsel for victims and survivors of domestic violence, and one focused on improving the service of process, such as with protective orders.
"We're looking at nationalizing what we did here in Alaska, and you know the state certainly still has a problem on this, but I think the country over the last couple years realized it has a problem and I'm hopeful that like my bill the power act that passed last year, these bills will also get passed and signed into law this congress," said Sullivan.
Sullivan was in Fairbanks, not only to celebrate Easter, but to honor Jim Dodson as the Business Leader of the Year.