Shaheen Statement on NH Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights Legislation Signed Into Law
State Bill Replicates Shaheen’s Groundbreaking Federal Legislation Signed Into Law by President Obama in 2016
(Washington, DC)— Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) issued the following statement after Senator Donna Soucy’s (D-Manchester) sexual assault survivors’ bill of rights legislation, which codifies rights specifically for sexual assault survivors, was signed into law this afternoon. Soucy’s legislation was modeled after Shaheen’s federal legislation that was signed into law in 2016. A key goal of Shaheen’s legislation was to set a standard for states to replicate at the local level and to establish a transparent process for survivors to seek justice.
“I applaud Senator Soucy for her advocacy on this issue to ensure the law is on the side of survivors, and for her efforts to usher this legislation through the New Hampshire legislature,” said Senator Shaheen. “When I wrote the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Rights Act, it was with the intention that this bill would be replicated in states across the nation to strengthen protections for survivors and to ensure our justice system prevails. This is an important step forward for survivors in New Hampshire, and I hope other states that have yet to implement a process for survivors will take notice and get to work.”
Shaheen’s bill, the Sexual Assault Survivors' Rights Act, built on the success of the Crime Victims’ Rights Act to address unique challenges faced by sexual assault survivors, particularly regarding notice, access, and preservation of sexual assault evidence collection kits. Her bill also established 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.
Senator Shaheen wrote her legislation after her office met with Amanda Nguyen, a sexual assault survivor who was forced to navigate burdensome and complicated obstacles to preserve evidence from her rape kit in her pursuit for justice. Nguyen has gone on to establish RISE, an organization dedicated to organizing in states across the country to adopt sexual assault survivors’ bill of rights.
Senator Shaheen has led efforts in the Senate to establish basic rights and protections for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Shaheen previously introduced legislation, the Fair Housing for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Survivors Act of 2016, to establish housing protections for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and to set a nationwide standard that survivors cannot be evicted or otherwise denied access to housing for being victims of those crimes. Shaheen also introduced the Combat Sexual Harassment in Housing Act to make it easier for victims to bring forward certain cases of sexual harassment in rental housing under the Fair Housing Act.