Press Releases

Beyer Lauds Passage Of Bipartisan Survivors’ Bill Of Rights Act

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Washington, September 8, 2016 | comments

The House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill Rep. Beyer introduced with California Republican Mimi Walters to protect the rights of sexual assault survivors to their sexual assault forensic evidence collection kits, known colloquially known as rape kits, and to standardize practices in the preservation of those kits. The measure passed the Senate unanimously in May.

“Sexual assault survivors deserve better than our current patchwork of often inadequate state laws and procedures detailing processes and care of a victim’s rape kit,” said Rep. Don Beyer. “Virginia’s commitment to address its substantial backlog of evidence kits is impressive, but there is more we can do to guarantee that victims of such horrific trauma are provided the best possible care and legal protection.”

The bill safeguards the rights of sexual assault survivors to learn the results of their rape kits in federal criminal cases and requires that they be notified when their kit is scheduled to be destroyed. It further affords the survivor the right to request preservation of their rape kit and requires that survivors be notified of the outcome of any forensic testing performed. It also requires the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services to create a joint working group to advise states of best practices on the safekeeping of sexual assault forensic evidence and treatment of survivors of sexual assault.

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