Governor Works to Prevent Sexual Assault

The Governor recently signed two bills that will have a positive affect in the fight against sexual assault. Both of these bills came out of the Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force. Senate Bill 198 and Senate Bill 199 represent two important steps forward in the rights for victim s of sexual assault in Oregon.

Senate Bill 198 allows some adolescent and all adult victims of sexual assault to have a “personal representative” with them during legal and medical proceedings. That representative can be an advocate, a family member or a friend. The new law will help encourage reports of sexual assault, as victims are assured that a family member, friend or rape crisis advocate will be alongside the m as they undergo the many exams and interviews that make up the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault cases.

“These bills will help women who are victims of sexual assault by giving them the support they need to step forward and report the assault – which will both help ensure their attackers are held accountable and protect other Oregonians from becoming victims,” said Governor Kulongoski.

Some studies estimate that as many as 85% of rape victims and other victims of sexual assault never file a report with law enforcement agencies. The availability of a personal representative has led to increased reporting in several other states that have already adopted the victim-centered policy.

The Governor also signed Senate Bill 199, which will help protect victims' privacy by preventing the public dissemination of sexually explicit photographs or materials by the issuance of a court protective order. Under current law there are instances in which certain sexually explicit materials may not be protected fro m public release.

In criminal proceedings, sexually explicit materials are often items important to the successful prosecution of sexual assault offenders. Unfortunately, the public nature of the criminal trial can lead to the unwanted and unfortunate disclosure of those materials. SB 199 permits a judge issue a protective order, insuring that neither the defense nor the prosecution can disseminate the materials.

The change brought about by SB 199 will help keep sexually explicit photographs or videotapes of children, adolescents and adults from escaping the courtroom and moving into the public arena, including the Internet. Records of criminal proceedings will continue to be accessible by the public and the media.

SB 198

SB 199

Posted on December 1, 2005
Front Page News, Public Safety