Tag rape kits

Legislative Gazette: Legislators unite with advocates to revamp rights for sexual assault survivors

By Alexa Appel, 3/5/18

Sexual assault survivors often lose the ability to take legal action against their attacker since they are not aware of their rights.

New York Senator Kemp Hannon, R-Garden City, and Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, D-Astoria, were joined by survivors of sexual assault to discuss the importance of expanding the rights of sexual assault survivors.

There is currently a three-bill package in the senate (S.6428A, S.6947A, S.6964A) that is focused on creating a Survivor’s Bill of Rights, maintaining unreported rape kits for 20 years, creating a rape kit tracking system, establishing a sexual assault forensic examination (S.A.F.E.) telemedicine pilot program and ensuring victims are never billed for exams.

“This package of bills makes sure survivor rights are clearly spelled out, unreported kits are maintained according to federal best practices, all victims have access to specially trained sexual assault providers, and that hospitals are not inappropriately charging survivors,” Hannon said.

Currently, hospitals retain rape kits for 30 days before discarding them. If a victim leaves the hospital, choosing to take time instead of submitting their kit to NYPD at that moment, the location of their kit becomes unknown and unavailable. There is no tracking system that ensures the kits not get destroyed.