SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Yehiel “Mark” Kalish, D-Chicago, recently passed legislation that would allow for more victims of sexual assault and other forceful felonies to come forward with confidence knowing that their traumatic experience will be prioritized over any past minor offenses that they may have been associated with.
“Many victims of violent crimes are afraid to report their abusers to law enforcement in fear that a minor mistake from their own past will take precedent over their current duress,” said Kalish. “This bill aims to take away the barriers that allow for violent offenders to roam our streets. We have to allow for our local law enforcement to carry out their policing in a way that keeps our neighborhoods as safe as possible.”
House Bill 92 prohibits a police officer from arresting a victim of sexual assault who is seeking medical attention. Under current law, officers must arrest victims who are also listed as suspects in low-level crime, and thus have an outstanding arrest warrant in their name. The measure clarifies to victims of sexual assault that law enforcement prioritizes bringing sexual abusers to justice. However, if the victim of sexual assault is involved in a past crime that is violent, law enforcement can inquire for further information about the past incident in an effort to bring all violent criminals to justice. House Bill 92 passed the House with bipartisan support and is awaiting further action in the Senate.
“This legislation provides crucial support to victims reporting sexual assault and encourages their active participation in the criminal justice process,” said Carrie Ward, Executive Director of Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ICASA). “House Bill 92 offers a victim-centered, common sense approach to evidence collection and enables law enforcement to treat sexual assault survivors in a respectful, trauma-informed manner. HB92 encourages survivor engagement in the criminal justice process and strives to increase reporting of sexual assaults. ICASA applauds Representative Kalish for leading the way in supporting victims in their most vulnerable time.”
Kalish was recently sworn in as state Representative of the 16th District, which includes portions of Skokie, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove and Chicago. For more information, please contact Kalish’s district office at 847-673-1131.