Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation Friday that establishes a sexual assault survivors’ bill of rights.
The new law requires the Department of Health, in consultation with the Division of Criminal Justice Services, the Office of Victim Services, and other stakeholders, to establish a sexual assault survivors’ bill of rights for purposes of informing survivors of their rights under state law.
“As the federal government shamefully ignores the voices of sexual assault survivors, New York is doing everything in our power to empower survivors and ensure they are treated with dignity and respect,” Cuomo said. “This legislation will support our work to combat the scourge of sexual harassment and assault, help deliver justice to survivors and make New York a safer state for all.”
The bill of rights includes the right to:
Consult with a rape crisis or victim assistance organization;
Appropriate health care services at no cost; and
Receive updates on their sexual offense evidence kit and the status of their case.
The bill requires all law enforcement agencies to adopt policies that help them communicate effectively with survivors and it creates a Victim’s Right to Notice, which enables a survivor to request information on their sexual offense evidence kit from the police agency or prosecutorial agency with jurisdiction over the crime.