This week Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) introduced SB 978 to ease the process for sexual assault victims to receive counseling services.
SB 978 will allow medical providers to notify rape counseling centers when a victim is transported to the hospital for a medical evidentiary exam, upon approval by the victim. Under current law, only law enforcement officers can contact counseling centers for victims.
“Sexual assault victims have already suffered physical and emotional trauma, this bill will make it easier for them to get the counseling services they need,” Senator DeSaulnier said. “This bill ensures that medical providers, and not just law enforcement, can directly contact counselors for sexual assault victims. We need to reduce as many burdens faced by victims as possible. I thank Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley for her leadership and her sponsorship of this important bill to protect victims.”
“I am proud to sponsor SB 978, a bill that makes a very small change in the law but a huge change for victims of sexual assault,” Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said. “This new law will enable medical providers to notify rape counseling centers whenever a victim is transported to the hospital for a medical evidentiary exam. Currently, a law enforcement officer must make the call to the counseling center; however, not all sexual assault victims wish to interact with law enforcement while at the hospital. Adding this simple language to allow medical professionals to call the center creates a more seamless process for victims of sexual assault many of whom are already suffering from trauma, fear, and a loss of privacy and dignity. I commend Senator DeSaulnier for being a statewide leader on advocating for victims.”