Raoul secures stronger protections for sexual assault survivors

raoul 031518SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) passed two pieces of legislation this week that provide 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.

“It is vital that we do everything we can to provide resources for those who have suffered trauma related to sexual assault,” Raoul said. “We need survivors to know that their basic civil rights will be protected when they report this crime.”


The measure puts several protections for victims of sexual assault or abuse in place, including:

  • allowing them to shower at the hospital post-examination;
  • allowing them to obtain a copy of the police report relating to the incident;
  • allowing them to have a sexual assault advocate and a support person of their choice present for medical and physical examinations;
  • allowing them to retain their own counsel;
  • prohibiting law enforcement from prosecuting the victim for a crime related to use of alcohol, cannabis, or a controlled substance based on the sexual assault forensic evidence collected;
  • providing that consenting to the collection of evidence by means of a rape kit extends the statute of limitations for a criminal prosecution to the maximum currently provided by law (10 years).

Raoul also passed Senate Bill 2342, which extends the time period during which rape kits can be tested.

Currently, if a victim of sexual assault or rape does not immediately consent to having a rape kit tested, law enforcement will retain it for five years or, in the case of a minor, five years after they turn 18.

This measure extends that retention period to 10 years. A victim can provide written consent for the kit to be tested anytime during that period.

“There are many reasons why someone would not feel comfortable providing immediate consent to have a rape kit tested,” Raoul said. “None of those should be a barrier to justice.”

Raoul’s legislation brings the retention period in line with the law passed last year extending the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution of sexual assault to 10 years. The same law removed the statute of limitations on crimes against a minor entirely.

Both measures now head to the House for consideration.

Sen. Kwame Raoul

Senator Kwame Raoul

13th District

Years served: 2004 - 2018

Committee assignments: Criminal Law (Vice-Chairperson); Judiciary (Chairperson); Public Health; Committee of the Whole; Energy and Public Utilities; Executive; Committee on Restorative Justice (Co-Chairperson).

Biography: Attorney; born September 30, 1964; Bachelor's degree from DePaul University; J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of Law; has two children.