Congress Approves Survivors Bill of Rights On Rape Kits

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The Senate yesterday approved legislation ensuring sexual assault survivors in federal criminal cases have access to forensic evidence collection kits, sending the bill to President Obama’s desk, The Hill reports. The Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act was passed by unanimous consent as lawmakers prepare to leave Washington until after the election. The House passed the measure earlier this month.

The measure would also allow survivors to request preservation of rape kits containing forensic evidence for the duration of the maximum statue of limitations and be told about any test results from the kits. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) credited Amanda Nguyen as “the driving force” behind the bill. Nguyen has to extend preservation of her rape kit every six months in Massachusetts because of state laws that allow it to destroy the evidence kit if the crime isn’t reported within that time. Nguyen hasn’t officially pressed charges for the 2013 rape because she works outside of Massachusetts and says she doesn’t have the time or resources right now for a trial lasting months or even years.

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