State Senator Karina VillaSPRINGFIELD – Survivors of sexual assault could track their evidence kits through the Illinois State Police sexual assault evidence tracking system and would be afforded more concrete rights as survivors of crime under a measure sponsored by State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago), which passed the Senate Sunday.

The legislation supports survivors of sexual assault by requiring hospitals to use the Illinois State Police online evidence tracking system and establishing a set of crime victims’ rights.

“There’s no reason hospitals should not take part in the Illinois State Police sexual assault evidence tracking system,” Villa said. “Requiring hospital participation in the tracking system will give survivors the tools they need to take control of the evidence in their cases.”

In 2020, the Illinois State Police launched an online tracking system for sexual assault evidence collection kits that allows survivors of sexual assault to track evidence in their cases, but not all hospitals in Illinois opted to participate. Villa’s measure would require hospitals to enter collected sexual assault evidence into the tracking system. This would ensure survivors of sexual assault receive information on how to use the tracking system from health care facilities or law enforcement.

“Survivors should not have to worry about inequitable treatment based on which hospital they go to,” Villa said. “It’s critical that law enforcement officials and health care providers support survivors of sexual assault.”

Villa’s legislation would also allow survivors to follow their cases through the justice system by establishing survivors’ right to timely notice regarding charging decisions and providing the opportunity to meet with the State’s Attorney’s Office to discuss the decision. Additionally, this measure ensures survivors are able to seek judicial intervention to enforce their crime victims’ rights or get assistance with complaints from the Office of the Attorney General.

“Survivors deserve to know whether their abuser will see their day in court,” Villa said. “This legislation will expand survivors’ rights and help prevent any potentially traumatic surprises regarding their cases.”

House Bill 1739 passed the Senate with a vote of 59-0.

Category: Press Releases

State Senator Karina VillaSPRINGFIELD – Undocumented college students could depend on resource centers and campus liaisons for help accessing on-campus services under a measure sponsored by State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago), which passed the Senate Friday.

“The changing immigration climate in our country can have a profound impact on a student’s well-being and academic success,” Villa said. “Resources on campus that provide tailored support to students can be the key to increasing retention and matriculation among undocumented students.”

The legislation would require public universities and community colleges in Illinois to designate an employee as an Undocumented Student Resource Liaison, as well as encourage schools to establish an Undocumented Student Resource Center on campus to assist undocumented students.

Liaisons and resource centers would help undocumented students and mixed-status students navigate financial aid programs, academic and career counseling, retention and matriculation support services, and mental health counseling offered on campus.

“Our focus should be on students’ health, well-being and success in school,” Villa said. “Targeted resources will have a profound impact on marginalized communities on campus.”

House Bill 3438 passed the Senate with a vote of 43-11.

Category: Press Releases

State Senator Karina VillaSPRINGFIELD – School lockdown drills would no longer include graphic simulations to mimic a school shooting under legislation sponsored by State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago), which passed the Senate Thursday.

“Schools must implement a trauma-informed approach for lockdown drills to protect our students,” Villa said. “School shooters continue to claim the lives of children across our country, and we need an approach to lockdown drills that will not be harmful to our students’ mental health.”

Villa’s legislation would tone down law enforcement drills for school shootings to put students’ safety and well-being at the forefront. Any drills would have to be announced in advance and involve school personnel, and they could not include active shooter simulations.

Parents and guardians would be notified of upcoming lockdown drills and could choose to exempt their child from participation for any reason. School administrators and personnel would also be able to exempt students from participation in lockdown drills, and instead provide alternative safety education and instruction related to an active threat.

“As many students live in fear of a shooting happening at their school, it’s important that we work to keep them safe without causing additional trauma,” Villa said. “This legislation will give students an opportunity to prepare for an active threat without having to experience the distress of a school shooting.”

House Bill 2400 passed the Senate with a vote of 57-0.

Category: Press Releases

State Senator Karina VillaSPRINGFIELD – Civil no-contact order eligibility would be expanded to include family and household members of survivors of sexual assault under legislation sponsored by State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago), which passed the Senate Thursday.

“Family members of sexual assault survivors can have shared trauma and feel the need to seek a no-contact order,” Villa said. “People who are closest with a survivor should not have to live in fear of contact with their loved one’s abuser.”

Under current law, a petition for a civil no-contact order can be filed by a survivor of non-consensual sexual conduct or by another person on behalf of a survivor who cannot file the petition. Villa’s measure would expand eligibility to offer protections for family or household members of survivors of sexual harassment and assault.

In order to qualify for these protections, the person filing the petition must first receive consent from the survivor.

“The safety and well-being of a survivor is the number one priority after a sexual assault, and no-contact orders can be key to protecting them,” Villa said. “This measure will help ensure survivors and their families do not have to relive traumatic events due to unwanted contact with their abuser.”

House Bill 1742 passed the Senate with a vote of 57-0.

Category: Press Releases

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