Dec 12 4:35 PM

DC bill targets police mishandling of sexual assault victims

Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images
The Stream (Al Jazeera)

UPDATE: April 8, 2014 – The DC Council passed the first vote Tuesday on sweeping reforms regarding how sexual assault cases are handled by police. The Sexual Assault Victims' Rights Amendment Act was introduced last year to improve the Metropolitan Police Department's response to and treatment of sexual assault survivors. 

"This legislation means that those who report sexual assault in the District can expect that their cases will be followed through as efficiently as possible, and that they will be treated with fairness and respect," said Sherelle Hessell-Gordon, the executive director of the DC Rape Crisis Center. 

The legislation allows sexual assault survivors to have an advocate present with them during hospital forensic exams and police interviews, requires the timely processing of rape kits while granting survivors the right to see their results, and mandates regular, independent public reports on the MPD's progress in enacting reforms, among other conditions.

The Sexual Assault Victims’ Rights Amendment Act will be voted on again before being sent to the mayor to be signed into law.


December 12, 2013 – Advocates of sexual assault survivors have introduced legislation to improve the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department's (MPD) handling of sexual assault cases. 

The bill comes on the heels of a comprehensive Human Rights Watch (HRW) report released in January 2013 documenting the often harrowing experiences of survivors seeking help after sexual assault. The Council of the District of Columbia has been hearing testimony Thursday on the Sexual Assault Victims’ Rights Amendment Act of 2013 (SAVRAA).


Washington D.C.
Police, Rape

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