In October of 2017 the state of California joined the federal government in securing much needed protections to sexual assault survivors. The bill of rights passed in California, known as AB 1312, is based on a federal bill written by Amanda Nguyen, who founded a nonprofit organization, Rise, after justice in her own case failed in Massachusetts.

The Sexual Assault Survivors Bill of Rights requires survivors be given a standardized card outlining their rights and the resources available to them. The bill requires women be provided birth control after their assault. Crucially, the bill also requires law enforcement agencies to preserve all rape test kits for unsolved cases for 20 years minimum or until a victims who is a minor turns age 40.

According to the CDC and the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the state is home to approximately 11 million sexual assault survivors and more specifically 2 million rape survivors. Co-author of the bill Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher was driven to do something hearing survivors like Amanda’s story. “No sexual-assault survivor should ever feel mistreated by the criminal-justice system. They need to know their rights. They need to know every resource available to them. I’m amazed at how often the victims of such horrific crimes are not extended such basic courtesies.”


As a survivor of a sexual assault, you have several rights, which you should be aware of. Your victim advocate can go over these rights in further detail if you wish.

(1) Ask Questions
You have every right to ask questions of the police, nurses, and attorneys. If you are uncomfortable or uncertain about something, please do not hesitate to ask questions about your case.


(2) Be Respected
You have the right to be treated with respect.


(3) Have Victim Advocate Present
You have the right to have your victim advocate present for any contacts related to this case. This includes but is not limited to: detective interviews, DA interviews, defense attorney interviews, medical follow ups and at all court proceedings.


(4) Be Informed
You have the right to be kept informed on the status of your case. For updates on the case, you may contact the detective or your advocate who can act as a liaison for you.


(5) Confidentially
You have the right to confidentiality with your victim advocate. Anything that is said between you and the advocate is held in strictest confidence. Your advocate from WRC does not work for the police department or the D.A.’s office, and will not disclose any information you discuss without your written consent.


(6) Change Initial Statement
You have the right to change or add to your initial statement as you start to recall details more clearly. If you begin to remember more details of the attack please contact the detective to add to your statement.


(7) Decline Or Reschedule Interviews
You have the right to decline an interview or to reschedule for a time when you will be better able to participate. Interviews can be extremely exhausting. If you feel that you cannot physically or emotionally handle an interview at the scheduled time, please express this concern to your advocate, who will act in your best interest to have the interview rescheduled.


(8) Decline Interview With Defense Attorneys
You have the right to decline an interview with defense attorneys and their investigators. If you decide to speak with the defense attorney, please make sure that you have a witness, such as your advocate, or the prosecuting attorney.


(9) Decline Phone Interviews
You have the right to decline a phone interview. Phone interviews can be precarious because you are unable to confirm the identity of the person on the other end of the line. To protect yourself and the case, you can request that all interviews be in person, and you may have your advocate present.


(10) Do Nothing
You have the right to do nothing.


(11) Compensation
You have the right to compensation through the Victims of Crime Fund, if you qualify and the case is filed. Your victim advocate can give you the contact numbers and information of how to apply for compensation for counseling, medical, and loss of wages associated with the assault.

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