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State Rep. Chip Brown proposes “Sexual Assault Survivors Bill of Rights”

The legislation would require state agencies to notify survivors of sexual assault of afforded rights under state law.

The Alabama Statehouse in Montgomery.

Republican State Representative Chip Brown announced Monday a proposed “Sexual Assault Survivors Bill of Rights,” providing state protections and guarantees to survivors of sexual assault. 

Brown’s proposed legislation would require state agencies to notify survivors of sexual assault of afforded rights under state law. The bill would mandate sexual assault evidence kits be preserved for 20 years, that survivors not be charged for receiving a medical forensic examination, and would require law enforcement to notify survivors of both the test results and give a 60-day advance notice before disposing of the evidence kit. It would also allow sexual assault survivors the ability to request evidence kits be preserved for an additional 20 years.

The Alabama attorney general would be required to create the written notification, according to Brown. Law enforcement would distribute the written notification informing individuals on their rights, as well as information on advocates for sexual assault survivors, requesting testing results and programs for state and federal compensation related to their case. 

“Sexual assault is a traumatic and life-changing experience, and its survivors often have to deal with interminable delays, unanswered questions, and feelings of being lost in the legal system as their cases are being resolved,” Brown said in a statement announcing the bill. “Basic human morals demand that we guarantee specific rights and services to survivors of sexual assault in order to ensure they will be afforded the respect, attention, and timely information that they deserve.”

Brown also proposed creating a Sexual Assault Task Force, which would be comprised of “law enforcement representatives, elected officials, victims’ advocates, medical professionals and others,” according to his statement. 

“The panel will be responsible for developing and implementing best practices regarding the care and treatment of sexual assault survivors and the preservation of evidence kits,” the statement continues.

This task force would consult with various groups and individuals and issue a report on their findings within two years of Brown’s bill.

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Similar bills have been submitted for legislative consideration in the recent past. Each bill failed to be enacted into state law.

The upcoming legislative session is scheduled to begin on Feb. 2, 2021.

Written By

John is a student contributor studying communications and French at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. You can contact him at [email protected] or via Twitter.

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