WEST virginia legislature
2017 regular session
Senate Bill 69
By Senators Woelfel, Ojeda, Facemire and Jeffries
[Originating in the Committee on the Judiciary; reported on March 18, 2017]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §61-11A-9, relating to creating the Sexual Assault Victims’ Bill of Rights; declaring additional rights bestowed upon sexual assault survivors regarding medical forensic examinations, sexual assault evidence collection kits and other similar topics; clarifying the right of a victim to be accompanied by a personal representative during certain proceedings; requiring certain people be informed or notified of certain rights; incorporating other rights contained in code; and defining terms.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §61-11A-9, to read as follows:
Article 11A. victim
§61-11A-9. Sexual Assault Victims’ Bill of Rights.
(a) In addition to those rights afforded victims of crime by other provisions of this code, a sexual assault victim has the following rights:
(1) The right to a personal representative of victim’s choice to accompany him or her to a hospital or other health care facility and to attend proceedings concerning the alleged assault, including police and prosecution interviews and court proceedings;
(2) The right to receive a forensic medical examination consistent with the provisions of section sixteen, article eight-b of this chapter;
(3) The right to have a sexual assault evidence collection kit tested and preserved by the investigating law-enforcement agency;
(4) The right to be informed by the investigating law-enforcement agency of any results of the forensic medical examination, if such disclosure would not impede or compromise an ongoing investigation;
(5) The right to be informed in writing of policies governing the forensic medical examination and preservation of evidence obtained therefrom;
(6) The right to receive, upon his or her written request, notification by United States mail, restricted delivery, to his or her last known address from the custodian of the evidence obtained from the forensic medical examination no fewer than sixty days prior to the date of the intended destruction or disposal thereof: Provided, That notice to a victim which meets the requirements of this subdivision, whether received by the addressee or not, meets all notice requirements imposed hereby;
(7) The right, upon his or her written request, to have the evidence obtained from the forensic medical examination preserved for an additional period not to exceed ten years; and
(8) The right to be informed of the rights afforded a victim pursuant to this section.
(b) As used in this section:
(1) “Appropriate consent” means the consent of the victim with respect to the testimony of an adult victim and a sexual assault victim advocate or trained volunteer of a rape crisis center when the victim is an adult;
(2) “Sexual assault” means any sexual act proscribed by article eight-b of this chapter;
(3) “Sexual assault victim advocate” means any employee of a rape crisis center whose primary purpose is the rendering of advice, counseling or assistance to victims of sexual assault or sexual battery; and
(4) “Trained volunteer” means a person who volunteers at a rape crisis center, and who has completed no fewer than forty hours of training in assisting victims of sexual violence and related topics provided by the rape crisis center, and who is supervised by members of the staff of the rape crisis center.