In a sparkling show of bipartisanship, the House of Representatives and Congress passed the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights on Friday, October 7th.

The legislation emphasizes survivors’ free access to rape kits, which are key pieces of evidence necessary for a proper court case.

Because prosecution can be expensive and time-consuming procedures, survivors often put off taking charges to court until proper affairs and resources are in order.

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Yet thousands of survivors are charged money for the preservation of their rape kits or have found their rape kits destroyed by the state without their consent. Victims also report never being told their test results even after being examined.

Thanks to the new bill, however, patients will never again be charged fees for a rape kit’s preservation and will have the unalienable right of vetoing the state’s decision to destroy the evidence. Survivors will also be guaranteed notification of test results following examination.

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“The uneven patchwork of laws across the country and the lack of substantive rights for sexual-assault survivors prevent them from having full access to the justice system,” California representative Mimi Walters said on the House floor. “Survivors of sexual assault have faced unspeakable trauma, and they should not face unnecessary barriers to justice.”

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