Bills signed to address Rape Kit Backlog procedures for victims of sexual assault

8/17/2016, 6 a.m.
Governor Bruce Rauner took action on multiple bills to help sexual assault victims seek justice. The bills include SB 3096 ...
Gov. Bruce Rauner

Governor Bruce Rauner took action on multiple bills to help

sexual assault victims seek justice. The bills include SB 3096 which creates the

Sexual Assault Incident Procedure Act. This is an overarching bill that provides

sexual assault victims with stricter protections during the evidence collection

process and ensures transfer of evidence from the hospital to law enforcement

agencies in a timely manner. It also removes barriers in the state procurement code

to allow the state to hire forensic analysts faster. This bill directly addresses

the decade-long rape kit backlog.

"As a state, we must do everything within our power to ensure victims are supported and that their aggressors are quickly brought to justice," said Governor Bruce Rauner. "We stand with the victims of these malicious crimes. This bill strengthens the policy behind evidence collection and gives the state tools to speed up the testing process to ensure victims have the ability to hold their aggressors

accountable and get the justice they deserve."

SB 3096 also implements training standards and guidelines for 9-1-1 operators and

police to handle sexual assault cases. It also requires hospitals to provide

instructions on how to help survivors give consent for their rape test kit to be

tested. It also specifies that hospitals must notify law enforcement agencies that

they have collected a rape test kit within a 4 hour period and the law enforcement

agency must take possession of the kit within 10 days. If possession does not take

place within that time period, the hospital will contact the appropriate State's

Attorney's Office. The recommendations for this bill came from the Attorney

General's Sexual Assault Working Group.

Senate Bill 2861 establishes a new Illinois Code of Military Justice that gives the

Illinois National Guard state court martial authority that is similar to the federal

Uniform Code of Military Justice. Unless mobilized into federal service, Illinois

National Guard Soldiers and Airmen remain under the control of the state and the

Governor serves as their Commander-in-Chief. Discipline of National Guard service

members and military justice are under the exclusive jurisdiction of the state.

"This bill allows us to pursue military justice and ensure good order and discipline

within our formations when civilian authorities elect not to pursue civilian

charges," said Maj. Gen. Richard J. Hayes, The Adjutant General of the Illinois

National Guard. "The need for this bill became very apparent as we battled military

sexual assault."

The new law will allow the Illinois National Guard to bring charges against the

service member before a court martial. If convicted of certain offenses before a

court martial, the Illinois National service member could face up to 10 years in

state prison.

Governor Rauner also signed HB4036, which extends the coverage of the Victims'

Economic Security and Safety Act to victims of domestic or sexual violence to

smaller companies across the state. The bill grants employees working for an

employer that employs at least 50 employees a right for leave of up to 12 workweeks, employees working for an employer that employs at least 15 but not more than 49 employees up to eight workweeks, and employees working for an employer that employs one but not more than 14 employees up to four workweeks of leave.