June 28, 2018
Contact: T.W. Arrighi
Rep. Mimi Walters Sponsors Bill to Expand Access to Care for Sexual Assault Victims
Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Mimi Walters (R-California) and Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Oregon) released the following statements regarding the introduction of H.R. 6273, the Creating Access to Rape kit Exams (CARE) for Survivors Act. A 2016 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that medical forensic examinations “performed by trained sexual assault forensic examiners may result in shortened exam time, better quality health care delivered to victims, higher quality forensic evidence collection… and higher prosecution rates.” This legislation requires 340B Disproportionate Share Hospitals with an emergency department to be a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE)-ready facility, which requires a sexual assault forensic examiner be available at all times.
Read the full bill text here.
Said Rep. Walters, “Access to a sexual assault forensic exam is vital for a victim’s wellbeing and recovery. Sadly, there is a lack of medical forensic examiners, with studies estimating that 85 percent of hospitals do not provide sexual assault forensic examinations. My bill would significantly expand access to desperately needed care for sexual assault victims. I thank Chairman Walden for his help in making this issue a top priority.”
Said Chairman Walden, “Following a rape or sexual assault, it’s critically important that the victim has access to an exam by a specially trained examiner. But the committee’s own research shows that not all hospitals provide rape kits or employ the specially trained individuals to examine them. This bill will require all 340B Disproportionate Share Hospitals that have an emergency department to have an established plan on how to respond to victims of sexual assault who seek treatment at their facility. I applaud Rep. Walters for her work in this space and look forward to working together on this issue.”
Walters represents California’s 45th District and serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Ethics Committee.