Under a measure supported by state Rep. Katie Stuart (D-Edwardsville) survivors of sexual assault will have increased protections when seeking medical attention.
“It is critical that we empower survivors to come forward to law enforcement to report sexual assault or receive necessary medical attention,” Stuart said. “Bringing the offender to justice and ensuring that the survivor receives appropriate medical attention will be a top priority for law enforcement under this legislation.”
Previously, law enforcement was obligated to arrest survivors with an outstanding arrest warrant, even if it was for a nonviolent, low-level offense. Rather than arresting the survivor, the Stuart-backed House Bill 92 requires law enforcement to issue the survivor a notice to appear in court for the previous offense.
“Having the fear of arrest for a prior offense only deters survivors from coming forward to report their assault or seek needed medical help,” Stuart said. “Rather than arresting survivors for low-level offenses, this legislation will ensure law enforcement’s focus is on tracking down the perpetrator of the sexual assault. I thank the governor for standing up for survivors and signing this legislation into law.”
The legislation Stuart supported received unanimous bipartisan support in the Illinois House and Senate, and was recently signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
“HB92 is a crucial step forward for victims reporting sexual assault,” said Carrie Ward, executive director of the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault. “Victims should not face the potential of being arrested as a result of reporting rape. This victim-centered legislation will help propel Illinois forward in its efforts to prosecute rapists and secure justice for rape survivors.”