Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. Senate passed the Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act of 2016, H.R. 5578, which Representative Mimi Walters (R-California) introduced along with Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-California). This bipartisan legislation will ensure that sexual assault survivors in federal criminal cases have a right to: a sexual assault evidence collection kit; be notified in writing before the kit is destroyed; request preservation of the kit; and be informed of important results from a forensic examination. It will also require the Attorney General and the United States Department of Health and Human Services to convene a joint working group on best practices regarding the care and treatment of sexual assault survivors and the preservation of forensic evidence. The Survivors’ Bill of Rights passed the House 399-0 earlier this month and will now go to the President’s desk for his signature.
“I am pleased the Senate joined the House of Representatives in approving the Survivors’ Bill of Rights,” said Representative Mimi Walters (R-California). “The lack of substantive rights for sexual assault survivors prevents them from having full access to the justice system, but today, Congress has taken an important step towards repairing this uneven patchwork. This bipartisan legislation ensures basic rights in the federal criminal justice system and will set an example for states to adopt similar procedures and practices. I thank my colleagues in the House and Senate for their support, and I urge the President to sign these reforms into law. I will continue to advocate for victims of sexual assault and enact sensible reforms like this bipartisan bill.”
Walters represents California’s 45th District and serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure and Judiciary Committees.