New law requires better care for sexual assault survivors
A new law will require better care for survivors of sexual assault in Illinois.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan initiated the measure. Madigan said the new law will make Illinois a national leader in providing specialized care to conduct examinations and treat emotional trauma in the aftermath of sexual assault crimes.
House Bill 5245 will expand the Sexual Assault Survivors Emergency Treatment Act to ensure that Illinois hospitals provide specialized sexual assault care in emergency rooms, which will include Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners, SANEs.
SANEs are trained to collect physical evidence following a sexual assault, respond to the medical and psychological needs of a survivor and testify in court.
Despite years of SANE training provided by Madigan’s office to nurses in Illinois, few hospitals currently provide specialized care for sexual assault victims.
Under the new law, hospitals must ensure that a sexual assault survivor receives specialized care by a qualified medical provider within 90 minutes of arriving at a hospital by Jan. 1, 2022.
The law also requires ongoing education to ensure that emergency room medical personnel such as attending physicians, physician assistants and nurses are trained to treat survivors of sexual assaults appropriately.
In addition, the law seeks to lessen the trauma on child survivors of sexual abuse by giving them the option to undergo the necessary and critical medical forensic examination in a more familiar setting.