SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to expand the rights of survivors of sexual assault, State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago) sponsored a law requiring hospitals to use the Illinois State Police online evidence tracking system and establishing a set of crime victims’ rights.
“Survivors of sexual assault need to know health care professionals and law enforcement officials are providing them with information on all available resources at their disposal,” Villa said. “It takes a brave person to come forward to report assault, and survivors deserve to feel at ease by staying in the loop on charging decisions and other updates to 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 law requires all hospitals to enter collected sexual assault evidence into the tracking system and requires health care facilities or law enforcement to provide survivors information on how to use the tracking system.
Villa’s law will 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 law 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.
House Bill 1739 was signed into law Friday and will take effect Jan. 1, 2022.