[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) today announced that legislation he helped lead in the Senate to empower survivors of sexual assault has been signed into law by President Barack Obama. The Sexual Assault Survivors’ Rights Act, also known as the Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act of 2016, creates the first federally codified rights specifically for sexual assault survivors, and for the first time would allow survivors the opportunity to enforce those rights in federal court.
“With the President’s signature today, this groundbreaking law empowers survivors of sexual assault with a set of basic rights to ensure their fair treatment in our criminal justice system,” said Senator Blumenthal. “Reporting sexual assault requires incredible courage – and the system must be worthy of that bravery. Too often, survivors are not told what is happening in their cases, find that vital evidence was destroyed without their consent, or encounter byzantine procedural barriers to justice. While there is still much more work to be done, this law represents an important step toward a system that mirrors unsparing prosecution of people who commit these heinous offenses with sensitive, consistent, and just treatment of survivors.”
The legislation, which was authored by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), unanimously passed the House earlier this month and, after minor changes made in the Senate, was unanimously passed in the Senate on September 28.