Lincoln senator’s proposal aims to ensure that sexual assault victims know rights, resources

Lincoln senator’s proposal aims to ensure that sexual assault victims know rights, resources
Sen. Kate Bolz (REBECCA S. GRATZ/THE WORLD-HERALD)

LINCOLN — A Nebraska lawmaker wants to make sure sexual assault survivors know about their rights and about the help available to them.

State Sen. Kate Bolz of Lincoln announced plans Tuesday to introduce legislation toward that end in the 2019 legislative session.

She said the proposed Sexual Assault Survivors Bill of Rights would establish a set of rights for survivors as they deal with law enforcement and the medical system. It also would require that survivors be told about formal and informal supports available to them.

“There are many reasons why survivors of sexual assault choose not to come forward, but we must do all we can to ensure that victims are aware of the rights they hold in our criminal justice system,” Bolz said.

“Learning more about what steps to take following sexual violence can help victims in a difficult time,” she said.

Bolz said she developed the bill with the assistance and support of the Nebraska Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence. She introduced a similar bill in this year’s legislative session. She said she decided to pursue the idea again after hearing from constituents in recent weeks.

As spelled out in the proposal, the rights of survivors of sexual assault include:

  • The right to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect.
  • The right to consult with a sexual assault counselor or victims advocate.
  • The right to be informed.
  • The right to be heard and participate in the criminal justice process.
  • The right to timely disposition of the case.
  • The right to notice about the status of the case.
  • The right to apply for compensation.

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