Dec. 4, 2018 By Christian Murray
Assemblymember Aravella Simotas is calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign her Sexual Assault Survivor Bill of Rights legislation into law.
Her call was prompted by the announcement last week that the New York Attorney General had entered into a settlement with seven New York City hospitals for illegal billing 200 rape victims for forensic rape examinations.
“I am shocked and horrified by the illegal practice of billing rape survivors for forensic rape examinations,” Simotas said. “One of the most disturbing aspects of this is that a new law might have prevented this travesty but it has been waiting for the governor’s signature for six months.”
Simotas said that her legislation, which passed both the assembly and senate in June, would have helped prevent the illegal billing. However, the bill has been waiting for Cuomo to sign it.
The bill would provide victims with a copy of a “bill of rights” before a physical examination or a police interview begins. The bill of rights explains that victims are entitled to consult with a rape crisis center and the right to health care services including emergency contraception.
The bill of rights would also tell victims that the forensic examination is free. The legislation would allow victims to receive updates on the status of their rape kit and whether a DNA profile was developed or a match identified.
“No rape survivor should be re-traumatized by bureaucracy, ill-treatment, thoughtlessness or lack of transparency in the healthcare or criminal justice systems,” Simotas said.