Assistant St. Louis County Attorney Nate Stumme was honored Friday for his dedicated work on behalf of survivors of sexual assault in the Northland.
The Program for Aid to Victims of Sexual Assault has selected Stumme for its “PAVSA Community Ally Award,” which is presented annually to individuals who have demonstrated a strong commitment to PAVSA’s work to eliminate sexual violence.
“Nate Stumme has been an outstanding ally in this regard,” said Candice Harshner, Executive Director of PAVSA. “In his role as a prosecutor for St. Louis County, he represents victims of sexual assault on a regular basis through prosecuting cases of sexual assault. Nate is always particularly thoughtful of the needs of survivors, doing his best to protect their dignity throughout what can be a very stressful and victim-blaming process.”
In addition to his work in the courtroom, Stumme has long been a member of PAVSA’s Sexual Assault Multi-disciplinary Action Response Team (SMART) where he works with representatives from law enforcement, advocacy and the medical community to ensure that all of PAVSA’s policies and protocols are victim-centered.
“This work is integral to providing services and responses that will not re-traumatize victim/survivors,” Harshner said. “Nate also ensures that the victims/survivors he works with are offered all the advocacy and healing services that are available at PAVSA.”
Harshner said Stumme has played a significant role in the development and implementation of PAVSA’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) project, a joint effort of the Duluth Police Department and PAVSA. This project has taken on the role of reviewing the sexual assault kit backlog at the police department. Over the past two years, the SAKI team has worked to get kits tested, to develop protocols and policies to deter further backlogs, and taken on the task of contacting past victims of sexual violence when their kits are being tested.
“From the late ’70s, we have always been working to bring justice to survivors of sexual assault,” said St. Louis County Attorney Mark Rubin, who received the PAVSA Community Ally Award in 2007. “This work now headed up by Nate, the Duluth Police Department and PAVSA advocates continues our commitment.”
In addition to his work on PAVSA teams and with victim/survivors, Stumme also takes the time to assist in training PAVSA volunteers and staff through a 40-hour sexual assault advocacy training. He helps advocates understand the judicial process and the intricacies of sexual assault cases.
Stumme appreciated receiving the honor. “This award provides a moment to reflect on the reality that the whole of our local multi-disciplinary response to sexual violence is so much greater than the sum of any individual part,” he said. “I am humbled and honored to be an ally of PAVSA.”