Bill to Help Sexual Assault Victims Advances

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

SACRAMENTO – Assembly Bill 1744, authored by Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove), was approved today by the Senate Committee on Public Safety on a unanimous bipartisan vote. The bill would require the development of a standardized sexual forensic medical evidence kit, also known as a “rape kit” to be used throughout California.

“Often there is confusion among examination teams as to what should be included in a rape kit and how to administer the kit,” said Assemblymember Jim Cooper. “AB 1744 will ensure that every rape kit used in the state would be identical, thus making it easier for examination teams to be properly trained and proficient at administering an exam on a victim of sexual assault.”

Currently, there are 10 to 12 different types of sexual assault evidence kits used in various counties across the state when investigating allegations of rape. As a result, there are variations among crime laboratories and the potential for errors to occur.

“Sexual assault victims deserve the very best by those who serve them,” said Marilyn Strachan Peterson, Director of the California Clinical Forensic Medical Training Center. “Assemblymember Cooper’s bill will improve the quality and consistency of evidence collected and submitted to crime laboratories by nurses and physicians who serve on sexual assault forensic medical exam teams,” Peterson added.

According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 20 percent of women and two percent of men report being raped in their lifetime.

AB 1744 is sponsored by the California Clinical Forensic Medical Training Center and will next be heard by the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

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Assemblymember Cooper represents the Cities of Sacramento, Elk Grove, Galt, and Lodi.