OKLAHOMA CITY – Legislation to increase the information provided to sexual assault victims unanimously passed the House Judiciary - Criminal Committee on Wednesday with a vote of 9 to 0.
"Sexual Assault Victims' Right to Information Act" (House Bill 2546), authored by Rep. Cyndi Munson, D-OKC, expands protections to victims of sexual assault whether they choose to participate in a criminal investigation of their assault or not. Additionally, the act allows for an advocate to be made available during a sexual assault examination.
“The government has no role in whether or not a sexual assault victim should come forward and tell their story,” Munson said. “However, we do have a responsibility to protect these individuals and ensure they have the opportunity to do so at a later date and in a meaningful way.”
The legislation also puts into place measures that increase the likelihood that a sexual assault victim knows their rights during an investigation.
“We need to ensure that at a person’s most vulnerable moment they know there are people there to help,” Munson said. “Victims need to know there are experts, people who regularly deal with the horrific fallout of sexual trauma, that are ready to jump in and help in any way they can. Sometimes, when we are most vulnerable, knowing there is a helping hand can make all the difference.”
The Sexual Assault Victims’ Right to Information Act is now available to be heard on the House floor and Munson encourages Oklahomans in support of this bill to contact their local legislators.