OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill to expand domestic violence and sexual assault victims’ rights was filed on Wednesday by Sen. Micheal Bergstrom.
The Adair Republican has proposed Senate Bill 202, which would expand rights for sexual assault victims to include the right to not have evidence destroyed before the statute of limitations; the right to a free forensic medical examination; and the right to consult with a sexual assault counselor.
The measure would also implement a referral process for assessing officers to follow when a victim is found to be at-risk based on the administered lethality assessment.
“It’s imperative that those who violently or sexually assault others be held responsible,” Bergstrom said. “Protecting evidence is crucial in accomplishing that. We also want consistency in how various agencies respond and help the victims of assault, so this bill provides clarification in that area as well.”
According to a recent report released by the Violence Policy Center, Oklahoma ranks third in the nation based on the number of women killed by men. The group found 2.31 women per 100,000 die as a result of domestic violence in the state – nearly twice the national average.
“It’s sobering to learn that Oklahoma ranks so high in the nation in domestic violence – a statistic I think we can all agree does not match our Oklahoma values,” Bergstrom said. “We must do all we can to protect victims and their rights, while at the same time making sure law enforcement officers have the tools they need to do their jobs well.”
For more information, contact:
Sen. Micheal Bergstrom at 405-521-5561 or email Micheal.Bergstrom@oksenate.gov