Sexual Assault

  • Asst. Majority Leader Iris Y. MartinezSPRINGFIELD — A new law sponsored by Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) will overhaul the manner in which sexual assault investigations involving students are conducted.

    Martinez passed the legislation out of the Senate this year as a bipartisan effort to address the issue of educator misconduct in classrooms across the state.

    “The importance of protecting our children is an issue we can all agree on, no matter our political party,” Martinez said. “The report released last year was shocking, and I am thankful to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for coming together to work on a solution. Students should be able to feel safe at school.”

  • Sen. Julie Morrison

    SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) passed her plan to improve medical care for survivors of rape and sexual assault out of the Senate this afternoon.

    “After survivors have endured one of the most traumatic experiences anyone can ever live through, it is vital hospitals and their staff are prepared to treat them with the utmost care,” Morrison said. “No victim should ever feel re-traumatized by seeking medical attention. In order to heal and seek justice against their perpetrator, victims must receive top-notch care by trained and compassionate medical personnel.”

    House Bill 5245 is a package of reforms meant to expedite the overall medical care of sexual assault survivors. The proposal would ensure survivors of sexual assault receive prompt medical treatment within 90 minutes of arriving at a hospital and also that medical personnel are trained to perform rape kits and other examinations needed after a sexual assault.

  • sexhar 030518 3Nearly a decade ago, Illinois Senate Democrats led efforts to provide incentives that kept Ford Motor Company jobs in Illinois. By all outward appearances, the two Ford plants have been a tremendous economic success, employing thousands of skilled manufacturing workers.

    Now, lawmakers are demanding answers and accountability from Ford executives and workforce leaders in response to growing reports of hostile and horrendous treatment of female workers.

  • ford 030518

  • raoul 030118SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) introduced legislation today that provides additional protections and rights for survivors of sexual assault or abuse.  

    Senate Bill 3404 creates the Survivors’ Bill of Rights, filling in gaps in Illinois’ current laws and bringing the state in line with federal guidelines.

    In drafting the legislation, Raoul worked closely with Rise, a national civil rights nonprofit that worked with Congress to pass a federal Survivors’ Bill of Rights in 2016. The organization is working to create legislation in every state to protect the estimated 25 million survivors of sexual assault.

  • Sen. Michael E. HastingsTINLEY PARK- A major barrier to prosecute rape and sexual assault cases against children is the short period of time survivors have to confront their attackers.

    State Senator Michael E. Hastings’ legislation, Senate Bill 189 that gives survivors of sexual abuse the ability to confront their attackers, was signed into law today.

    “At times, survivors of abuse need time to discover the courage to address these horrific and awful crimes.” Hastings said. “This new law will put in place the best practices for dealing with sexual assault cases statewide and puts a system in place that will encourage survivors to come forward and receive justice when they are ready to do so.”

  • Sen. Bertino-TarrantSPRINGFIELD— Legislation that would end deadlines for when someone could be prosecuted for sexual abuse against a minor was approved by the Illinois Senate yesterday.

    State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) voted for the measure and is its chief co-sponsor.

    “Passing this measure in the Senate was a positive step for victims’ rights and justice,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “If someone has been sexually abused, they deserve the time they need to report the crime and confront their abuser. We must do everything we can to protect victims and hold abusers accountable.”

  • Senator Scott Bennett, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Scott Cross

    SPRINGFIELD – Legislation removing the statute of limitations for certain sex crimes against minors passed the Illinois Senate yesterday. By a vote of 54-0, members of the Senate sided with victims still struggling to come to terms with the crimes committed against them.

    State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) worked with Attorney General Lisa Madigan to pass the measure.

    “Survivors of these horrific crimes should not be forced to seek justice before they are ready to do so,” Bennett said. “This legislation is a beacon of hope to victims all over Illinois that an arbitrary deadline won’t stand between them and justice.”

    Attorney General Lisa Madigan has made protecting the victims of sex crimes a top priority of her office.

    “For a child survivor of sexual assault, reporting their crime can be unimaginable because these crimes are usually committed by an adult they know well,” Madigan said. “We must ensure that we can seek justice whenever a survivor comes forward to report the crime.”

    The measure now goes to the House of Representatives.

  • Senator Scott Bennett, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Scott CrossSPRINGFIELD — Victims of sexual abuse and assault as minors will no longer have to worry about their abuser walking free due to the statute of limitations under a plan being pushed in the Illinois State Senate.

    State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign), who introduced Senate Bill 189, said it would remove the statute of limitations for sex crimes committed against minors.

    “Victims of sexual assault and abuse deserve a pledge that justice does not have an expiration date,” Bennett said. “With this legislation, we can deliver a message of hope to victims everywhere by guaranteeing their abusers won’t get away because time ran out.”

    In previous hearings Bennett held on this legislation, the Attorney General was joined by one of former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s victims, Scott Cross, who called for a review of the existing laws.

    The crimes included in the legislation are criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault, predatory criminal sexual assault of a child and aggravated criminal sexual abuse and criminal sexual abuse.

  • bennett cmteSPRINGFIELD- Every 107 seconds, another American is sexually assaulted. Each year, there are approximately 293,000 victims of sexual assault.

    To prevent this, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) passed a measure that was signed into law today that will improve responses to sexual assault and abuse cases in Illinois.

    “Our number one goal is to end cases of sexual abuse and assault,” Bennett said. “However, if an assault occurs, we must have clear and concise guidelines to give victims a comprehensive path to justice.”

    Senate Bill 3096 is the result of the work done by the Joint Sexual Assault Working Group. The goal is to improve responses to sexual assault and abuse cases with victim-centered policies and practices demonstrated to minimize trauma and encourage victim participation in the criminal justice process.

    Senate Bill 3096 does two things.

    First, it outlines the information that must be included in a police officer’s report, as well as what information needs to be made available to victims.

    The initiative also outlines procedures for collecting sexual assault kits from hospitals to ensure victims’ rights are protected.

    “Sexual assault is a devastating crime that is rarely reported to law enforcement. Our Working Group spent more than a year taking a comprehensive look at why and how our criminal justice system can better respond, investigate and support survivors,” Attorney General Lisa Madigan said. “Illinois will now require police to undergo specialized training and follow specific protocols for incidents of sexual assault that should encourage more survivors to come forward and receive justice. These are significant changes to improve our response to sexual assault crimes.”

    Senate Bill 3096 passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support and was signed this afternoon.

  • silverstein 042116SPRINGFIELD– Two measures from Senator Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago) were signed into law by the governor on Friday: one to protect students from sexual assault on campus and another to waive GED fees for homeless young people.

    Addressing rampant campus sexual assault takes stronger actions than what exist now. Sen. Silverstein’s Senate Bill 2839 amends the Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act. The change clarifies that sanctions for a student who violates the institution’s sexual violence policy may include suspension, expulsion, or removal of the student after complaint resolution procedures.

    “Colleges and universities need to employ greater authority to get sex offenders away from campus,” Senator Silverstein said. “California passed a law like this last year and it makes sense for Illinois.”

    Sen. Silverstein’s Senate Bill 2840 waives fees paid by homeless young people for the four test modules of the GED exams, a cost of $30 each and paid to regional superintendents. Applicants will complete a prep course through an Illinois Community College Board-approved provider and take the exam at a testing center operated by a regional superintendent of schools or the Cook County High School Equivalency Office.

    “Not having a fixed address often means young people find it difficult to attend school, but if a young homeless person takes the initiative to advance their education, we need to remove this financial barrier,” Sen. Silverstein said. “I think foregoing the fees of $120 to $130 is a good investment in a homeless teen or his family to further his education and his future.”

    Senate Bills 2839 and 2840 will take effect January 1, 2017.

  • statute limitationsSPRINGFIELD- Illinois no longer would have time constraints on prosecuting alleged child sex offenders under legislation introduced by State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign).

    The legislation was prompted by last week’s developments involving former Republican U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who admitted in court that he sexually abused teenage boys when he was a wrestling coach in Yorkville.

    “We shouldn’t reward people who are lucky enough to not get caught,” Bennett said.

  • silverstein 042116SPRINGFIELD– A proposal from Senator Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago) to bolster higher education institutions’ options to protect students from sexual violence on campus was approved by the Senate yesterday.

    Addressing rampant campus sexual assault takes stronger actions than what exists now. Sen. Silverstein’s Senate Bill 2839 amends the Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act. The change would clarify that sanctions for a student who violates the institution’s sexual violence policy may include suspension, expulsion, or removal of the student after complaint resolution procedures.

    “Sex offenders don’t belong on our campuses – colleges and universities need broader authority to get those violators away from students who deserve greater safety,”  Silverstein said. “A law like this passed in California last year and it makes sense for Illinois.”

    The Preventing Sexual Violence on Campus Act, effective August 21, 2015, required all Illinois institutions of higher education to set plans, processes and comprehensive policy for survivors, adjudicate allegations, and train and communicate to students and employees on campus sexual violence.

    Senate Bill 2839 received unanimous approval Thursday. It now goes to House for further consideration.

  • silverstein campussexassaultSPRINGFIELD– Combatting the high rate of campus sexual assault requires a range of actions on the part of colleges, students and the criminal justice system. A proposal from Senator Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago) would reinforce the capacity of higher education institutions to protect students from sexual violence on campus.

    Sen. Silverstein’s Senate Bill 2839 amends the Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act. The change would clarify that sanctions for a student who violates the institution’s sexual violence policy may include suspension, expulsion, or removal of the student after complaint resolution procedures.

    “California lawmakers passed legislation like this last year to give colleges and universities broader authority to protect students and staff and to discipline those whose behavior puts others at risk,” Sen. Silverstein said. “Offenders have no place on our campuses and this measure adds another means for Illinois institutions to act for greater safety.”

    The Preventing Sexual Violence on Campus Act, effective August 21, 2015, required all Illinois institutions of higher education to set plans, processes and comprehensive policy for survivors, adjudicate allegations, and train and communicate to students and employees on campus sexual violence.

    Senate Bill 2839 was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday. It now goes to the full Senate for further consideration.

  • bennett 040616SPRINGFIELD - State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) advanced legislation to improve responses to sexual assault and abuse cases in Illinois.

    Every 107 seconds, another American is sexually assaulted. Each year, there are approximately 293,000 victims of sexual assault.

    “Our number one goal is to end cases of sexual abuse and assault,” Bennett said. “However, if a case occurs, we must have clear and concise guidelines to give victims a comprehensive path to justice.”

    Senate Bill 3096 is the result of the work done by the Joint Sexual Assault Working Group. The goal is to improve responses to sexual assault and abuse cases with victim-centered policies and practices that have been demonstrated to minimize traumatization and encourage victim participation in the criminal justice process.

    Senate Bill 3096 does two things.

    First, it outlines the information that must be included in a police officer’s report, as well as what information needs to be made available to victims.

    Secondly, the initiative outlines procedures for collection of sexual assault kits from hospitals to ensure victims’ rights are protected.

    Senate Bill 3096 passed the Senate’s Committee on Criminal Justice with bipartisan support and now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

  • TC rapeculture picVILLA PARK- To continue to look for ways to make our communities safe, State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) hosted a community women’s empowerment summit.

    Cullerton partnered with community organizations, medical experts, local law enforcement agencies, as well as State Representative Deb Conroy and State Representative Kathleen Willis and the Attorney General’s office to host a comprehensive discussion on how the community can work together to combat sexual assault on campus and at home.

    “Community dialogue is essential to ending violence against women,” said Cullerton. “Our goal was to work together to ensure students and residents are aware of available resources and give them the opportunity to voice their concerns and share input on how we can work together to address this serious issue.”

    To combat campus sexual violence, House Bill 821, sponsored by Cullerton this year, provides a roadmap to existing federal requirements and sets standards to prevent and respond to sexual violence.

    “Our top priority is to end campus assault. However, if an attack occurs, there needs to be clear and concise standards to give victims a comprehensive path to report crimes and be notified of their rights,” said Cullerton.

    Cullerton looks forward to holding additional summits to work toward ending violence in our
    communities.

    [PHOTO CAPTION]: Senator Tom Cullerton, Rep. Deb Conroy and community leaders signed the Start by Believing Pledge, a national campaign to change the way we view rape culture.

  • New law aims to protect college students from sexual assaultWith studies showing an alarming one-in-five undergraduate college women becoming victims of rape or attempted rape, a measure was signed into law recently that will prevent and ensure proper response to sexual assaults that occur on college campuses.

    “College represents new experiences and new beginnings for thousands of young women and men each year,” sponsor Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) said. “With thousands of college students heading to school, many of them for the first time, we are reminded of the importance in both preventing sexual assaults and responding with every single resource at our disposal when they do occur. Sexual assault cannot be tolerated anywhere.”

  • bush 021015State Senator Melinda Bush promoted Attorney General’s legislation
     
    SPRINGFIELD — A new law that will prohibit health care providers from directly billing sexual assault survivors for the collection of evidence related to their attacks will take effect next year after Governor Bruce Rauner signed it Monday. House Bill 3848, sponsored by Rep. Michelle Mussman (D-Schaumburg) and Sen. Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake), was passed by the General Assembly unanimously and signed into law Monday.

    The new law, put forth by Attorney General Lisa Madigan, will ensure compliance with the federal Violence Against Women Act of 2013 (VAWA) and remove a barrier that may prevent sexual assault survivors from going to the hospital after the crime.

    “I strongly encourage anyone who is sexually assaulted to go quickly to a hospital emergency room for necessary care and to collect evidence of the crime,” Madigan said. “This law assures that in the aftermath of a sexual assault, a survivor will not be sent a bill for those critical ER services that play an important role in helping law enforcement make an arrest and work to achieve justice for the survivor.”

    The invasive examinations that follow a sexual assault can last four to six hours and involve the collection of physical evidence from the survivor’s body. The “rape kits” are then sent to a crime lab for testing. The results provide a critical part of a criminal investigation. The new law would ensure that those who submit to those tests won’t also need to pay for them.

    “The legal process survivors face often seems overwhelming,” Bush said. “This will ensure that survivors can come forward without worrying about shouldering the financial burden of an investigation.”

    The law brings Illinois into compliance with the VAWA, which requires Illinois to certify that that sexual assault survivors are not being billed for medical forensic examinations as a condition of receiving federal grant funds. Failure to comply with VAWA could result in the loss of these federal funds which are used to provide services to victims, to train law enforcement officers and prosecutors, and to train Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE), who work with victims to gather evidence and help them begin the recovery process.

    The new law goes into effect Jan. 1.

  • hutchinson evictSPRINGFIELD – With studies showing an alarming one-in-five undergraduate college women becoming victims of rape or attempted rape, a measure was signed into law today that will prevent and ensure proper response to sexual assaults that occur on college campuses.

    “College represents new experiences and new beginnings for thousands of young women and men each year,” sponsor Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) said. “With thousands of college students heading to school, many of them for the first time, we are reminded of the importance in both preventing sexual assaults and responding with every single resource at our disposal when they do occur. Sexual assault cannot be tolerated anywhere.”

    While there have been efforts at the federal level to deal with the issue of sexual violence on campuses, universities have been left with a patchwork of recommendations and proposals without clear guidance on how they can reduce the incidence of violence on their campuses and effectively deal with the aftermath of sexual assaults.

    Acknowledging this reality, Senator Hutchinson teamed with Attorney General Lisa Madigan to ensure colleges develop clear, comprehensive campus plans for dealing with sexual violence. Each plan will ensure victims have help immediately after an attack, including confidential advisers who can guide them to medical and legal resources. These advisers must also focus on often-overlooked issues, such as orders of protection and situations where housing and class schedules need to be changed.  

    House Bill 821 was signed into law today by the governor and takes effect immediately.