Tom Reed continued to stand with victims of sexual assault by applauding the newly enacted law, the Survivor's Bill of Rights Act of 2016. “We care about the victims of sexual assault and this law is a monumental step forward to protect them,” said Reed. “We remained committed to supporting those in need by encouraging them to come forward to seek justice and providing them with the resources and compassion they need to recover.”
The proposal, which was signed in to law on October 7, 2016, adds numerous protections for sexual assault victims, including ensuring that rape examinations are provided to victims in federal rape cases at no charge. Often times, sexual assault victims undergo a medical exam as part of the criminal investigation into their assault but then receive a bill for medical services.
“This is an injustice through and through. If anyone is assaulted, they should have access to the care they need and cost should never be a barrier to getting that care or to fully investigating a crime,” Reed continued.
Additionally, the law sets national standards for how evidence is shared with victims and law enforcement. The law requires that victims are provided with the results of their exam, including a DNA profile match, toxicology report, and medical information, as long as the information does not compromise an ongoing investigation, and also provides victims with information regarding the management of the evidence collected in the rape kit.
Finally, the law creates a working group to improve the processes for addressing sexual assault nationwide, aiming to improve coordination between the States Attorney Generals, U.S. Attorney General, State Law enforcement agency and forensic lab directors.
The bill passed both the House and Senate unanimously.