SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Maurice West II, D-Rockford, recently supported legislation that would prohibit law enforcement from arresting a survivor of sexual assault if the survivor has an outstanding warrant for a low level crime and is reporting an assault.
“Regardless of someone’s past, we want to make sure that they are able to come forward to law enforcement to report an assault and receive any needed medical attention,” West said. “Addressing the sexual assault and the survivor’s health is more important than arresting them for a low level offense.”
Under current law, law enforcement must arrest survivors who have an outstanding arrest warrant in their name, even if it is a low level offense. Instead of arrest, the West-backed House Bill 92 would focus law enforcement’s efforts on addressing the sexual assault by simply issuing a notice to the survivor to appear in court for their previous offense. Law enforcement would still be able to arrest an individual if they are wanted for a violent or forcible felony, such as murder or burglary.
“Sexual assault is incredibly traumatic, and we should not make the experience worse for a survivor by arresting them during the process if we do not need to,” West said. “We should be focused on arresting the individual who committed the assault and stopping them from committing another offense.”