Governor Signs Sexual Assault Counseling Bill

Gov. Jerry Brown today signed a bill authored by state Senator Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, and sponsored by Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley that ensures that sexual assault victims receive timely rape crisis counseling services.

O’Malley said Senate Bill 978 allows a hospital to notify the local rape crisis centers when a victim arrives for a medical or evidentiary physical examination after a sexual assault.

Previously, only law enforcement officials were required to notify rape crisis centers and they only did so when the victim of an alleged sexual assault was transported to a hospital for any medical evidentiary or physical examination.

However, not every sexual assault victim notifies law enforcement, O’Malley said.

The legislation signed by the governor allows hospitals to call a rape crisis center directly without having to first contact law enforcement, she said.

O’Malley said in a statement, “Every sexual assault survivor is entitled to the assistance of a rape crisis advocate or counselor, whether or not she chooses to immediately notify law enforcement of the assault.”

She said the bill was supported by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the AFL-CIO, California Communities United Institute, the California District Attorneys Association, the California Police Chief’s Association and Californians for Safety and Justice.

Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News

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