BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — New York is trying to put rape survivors back in control. Just prior to the new year, Governor Andrew Cuomo passed the Sexual Assault Survivors' Bill of Rights. Cuomo says the legislation supports the work of the state to combat sexual assault and empower the survivors by delivering them justice.
Included in the legislation:
- Law enforcement officials must inform survivors of their rights
- Counseling services are available
- Health care will be provided free of charge
- Survivors will be able to request updates on their sexual offense evidence kits and overall status of their case
- Rape kit retention has been increased from 30 days to 20 years
“So many times there are serial rapists who are assaulting more and more women and if they’re not caught right away then they keep going and those rape kits can start creating a case," says Dr. Kate Fowler, Executive Director of It Happened to Alexa, a global organization that helps survivors of sexual assault attend and testify at out of town trials. “ I also think by giving survivors the opportunity to get information and updates on their case will help feel as though they can move forward, the system is there to help them and not put up roadblocks.”
Rape survivors experiencing any personal, emotional or mental health crisis are asked to call the Crisis Services 24 hour hotline at 716-834-3131.