Sen. Michael E. Sen. Michael E. Hastings champions measure to help protect survivors of domestic violence
TINLEY PARK- During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, State Senator Michael E. Hastings reminds residents that domestic violence is a daily issue that affects many Illinoisans.
"As a state, it is our duty to condemn domestic violence in any form and continue our charge to support a safe living and work environment for all Illinois residents," Hastings said. "Confronting an attacker is hard process for survivors of domestic violence. When someone is ready to take this step of bravery there are is a new measure in place to help provide them with justice."
Hastings championed a measure to help protect victims of domestic violence in Illinois during the legislative session.
The new law will improve the processing and review of sexual assault evidence by requiring the Illinois State Police to implement a new statewide sexual assault evidence kit tracking procedure. It also creates the Sexual Assault Evidence and Reporting Commission to research and develop best practices to establish a statewide plan to track and report sexual assault evidence.
"The justice system was created to give our citizens the opportunity to confront their abusers and for the innocent to be absolved of faulty accusations," Hastings said. "This new law will ensure survivors of sexual assault are equipped with the right evidence to receive their fair day in court."
Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault reports that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men will experience some form of sexual assault in their lifetime. Illinois became the first state in the nation to a enact rape kit reform law in 2010. Hastings believes this new law is the next step in ensuring transparency and ending the backlog of untested evidence.
"Transparency is key to ensure rape kits are tested responsibly and in a timely manner," Hastings said. "Our hope is this new process will implement a system that stresses accuracy and accountably to give survivors of sexual assault some peace of mind."
House Bill 528 passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support. The new law is now in effect.