SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Survivors of sexual assault and other violent crimes can rest assured that statements they provide for a defendant’s parole or clemency hearing will remain confidential under legislation passed unanimously through the Illinois House by state Rep. Kam Buckner, D-Chicago.
“It takes a tremendous amount of bravery for a survivor of sexual assault to come forward,” Buckner said. “When a person writes or delivers a victim impact statement, they’re offering details from the worst moments in their life to complete strangers in the hopes that telling their story will help bring their perpetrator to justice.”
House Bill 3584 codifies that victim impact statements provided to the Illinois Prison Review Board, as well as subsequent reports offered to the Governor regarding clemency, are confidential. Statements submitted prior to the implementation of this law would also be considered privileged information. This initiative clarifies that victim impact statements made at a public hearing are not subject to confidentiality.
“It can take a lifetime of work for individuals who have suffered a sexual assault or who’ve been impacted by a violent crime to recover. In cases where victims’ very personal stories are made public, sometimes years after the fact, it can be absolutely devastating,” Buckner said. “With a current rate of just one in four instances of sexual assault being reported, it’s nearly impossible to ensure that there are real consequences for this horrendous crime. In order to end sexual assault, it’s on us to encourage survivors to come forward by ensuring that their privacy will be respected to the fullest extent of the law throughout the process.”