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Statement from Mayor Bowser on the Sexual Assault Victims’ Rights Amendment Act of 2019

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

(Washington, DC) – Today, after the Council of the District of Columbia unanimously passed the Sexual Assault Victims’ Rights Amendment Act of 2019 (SAVRAA), Mayor Bowser released the following statement:

“This legislation is about doing everything we can to support and meet the needs of victims and survivors in our community. It was critical to us that the updated SAVRAA include the feedback of victims and survivors, advocates, and subject matter experts, and we are grateful to everyone who worked with us to develop, improve, and pass this legislation. We look forward to continuing those partnerships as we affirm our commitment to improving outcomes for sexual assault victims and survivors by implementing SAVRAA 2019 and continuing to advance our DC values.”

Mayor Bowser introduced the Sexual Assault Victims’ Rights Amendment Act of 2019 on January 8, 2019. The legislation builds on the Mayor’s 2017 legislative proposal by incorporating feedback from victims and survivors, advocates, and subject matter experts to strengthen the introduced policies and improve outcomes for victims and survivors of sexual assault.

Key elements of SAVRAA 2019 include:

  • expanding the right to an advocate for victims;
  • codifying rights for teenage victims of sexual assault;
  • creating a definition of sexual assault counselors that mirrors the definitions of domestic violence counselors and human trafficking counselors already in DC law;
  • opening the door for additional organizations working with sexual assault victims to join DC’s Sexual Assault Response Team (SART); and
  • clarifying confidential communications between sexual assault counselors and sexual assault victims.