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Public Oversight Roundtable on The Implementation of the Sexual Assault Victims’ Rights Act of 2014

Friday, February 12, 2016

Council of the District of Columbia

COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARy

Notice of Public Oversight Roundtable

1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20004  

 

 

Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie, Chairperson

Committee on the Judiciary

                                                  

Announces a Public Oversight Roundtable on

 

The Implementation of the Sexual Assault Victims’ Rights Act of 2014

 

 

Thursday, February 25, 2016, 10 a.m.

Room 120, John A. Wilson Building

1350 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20004

 

 

On February 25, 2016, Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie, Chairperson of the Committee on the Judiciary, will convene a public oversight roundtable to review the implementation of the Sexual Assault Victims’ Rights Act of 2014.[1] The Sexual Assault Victims’ Rights Act of 2014:

 

  • Provides that a sexual assault victim shall have the right (1) to have a sexual assault victim advocate present; (2) to receive the results of a toxicology report and forensic kit examination; and (3) to receive notification from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) when police contact a suspect;
  • Provides that communications between a sexual assault victim and a sexual assault victim advocate are confidential and privileged;
  • Requires that MPD, the Department of Forensic Services (DFS), and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) process sexual assault forensic examination kits and biological specimens in a set time period;
  • Prohibits District hospitals from billing a sexual assault victim for a sexual assault forensic examination kit;
  • Establishes a Sexual Assault Response Team, a Sexual Assault Response Team Case Review Subcommittee, and a Sexual Assault Victim Rights Task Force;
  • Requires annual reporting by MPD, DFS, and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner regarding compliance with protocols for and response to sexual assaults; and
  • Authorizes an independent expert consultant to assess and review MPD’s policies, practices, and training.

 

Title II of the Act required the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants (OVSJG) to establish a Sexual Assault Victim Rights Task Force to study nationally recognized best practices and develop recommendations regarding:

 

  1. The development and implementation of an effective mechanism for submitting, tracking, and investigating complaints regarding the handling of, or response to, a sexual assault report or investigation by any agency or organization involved in the response;
  2. Whether a need exists for additional sexual assault victim advocates;
  3. Whether a need exists to expand the right to a sexual assault victim advocate beyond the hospital and law enforcement interview settings, such as meetings and conversations with prosecutors; and
  4.  Whether a need exists to expand the right to a sexual assault victim advocate to juvenile sexual assault victims.

 

The act also required the Task Force to submit a report of the results of its assessments, developments, and recommendations to the Council and the Sexual Assault Response Team. Reports of both the independent expert consultant and Task Force are available here: http://ovsjg.dc.gov/node/1004172.

 

The Committee invites the public to testify or to submit written testimony. Anyone wishing to testify at the roundtable should contact Kate Mitchell, Committee Director, at (202) 727-8275, or via e-mail at [email protected], and provide their name, telephone number, organizational affiliation, and title (if any) by close of business, February 22, 2016. Representatives of organizations will be allowed a maximum of five minutes for oral testimony, and individuals will be allowed a maximum of three minutes. Witnesses should bring fifteen single-sided copies of their written testimony and, if possible, also submit a copy of their testimony electronically to [email protected].

 

For witnesses who are unable to testify at the roundtable, written statements will be made part of the official record. Copies of written statements should be submitted either to the Committee or to Nyasha Smith, Secretary to the Council, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Suite 5, Washington, D.C. 20004.  The record will close at the end of the business day on March 10, 2016.

 



[1] Sexual Assault Victims’ Rights Act of 2014, effective Nov. 20, 2014 (D.C. Law 20-0139; D.C. Official Code § 23-1907 et seq.), http://lims.dccouncil.us/Download/29573/B20-0417-SignedAct.pdf