Shaheen Responds to Change.org Petition Calling for Rights for Sexual Assault Survivors

**Petition directed at Congress has gathered almost 50,000 signatures in 24 hours**

February 25, 2016

(Washington, DC)—This afternoon, Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) responded online to a petition authored by Amanda Nguyen, a sexual assault survivor who leads the nonprofit Rise. Her petition calls on Congress to put in place common sense reforms for sexual assault survivors who often experience a criminal justice system that works against them, rather than for them. Amanda’s petition has gathered almost 50,000 signatures in just 24 hours. On Tuesday, Senator Shaheen introduced the Sexual Assault Survivors' Rights Act, legislation she authored with Amanda’s input, that empowers survivors in our criminal justice system as they pursue justice. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Patrick Leahy are original cosponsors of Shaheen’s bill.

Senator Shaheen’s response can be read on Change.org here or below:

I’m U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen and I want to thank all of you for showing your support for empowering survivors of sexual assault. Far too many survivors experience a criminal justice system that’s working against them, not for them. I also want to thank Amanda Nguyen for her bravery in sharing her story and for her tireless efforts to change the system so that others won’t have to go through what she went through.

I have good news to share with you all. This week, I introduced the Sexual Assault Survivors Act in the United States Senate. This is legislation I wrote with Amanda’s input to establish basic rights for survivors like her. The bill would establish the following rights in federal law:

The right to have a sexual assault evidence collection kit preserved for the entire relevant statute of limitations.

The right to be notified in writing 60 days prior to the destruction of a sexual assault evidence collection kit.

The right to request further preservation of a sexual assault evidence collection kit.

The right to be informed of important results of a sexual assault forensic examination.

The bill will also empower survivors to make more informed decisions throughout the criminal justice process by supporting state efforts to better notify survivors of available resources as well as applicable state rights and policies.  Finally, the bill would establish a joint Department of Justice and Health and Human Services working group to more effectively implement best practices regarding the care and treatment of survivors across the country.

I’m optimistic that this bill will gain broad bipartisan support in Congress and I’m hopeful that we can get it to the President’s desk. Again, thank you for your public support for survivors of sexual assault and the need for change.

Sincerely,

Senator Jeanne Shaheen