SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Under a new measure passed by state Rep. Karina Villa, D-West Chicago, law enforcement would be prohibited from arresting a survivor of sexual assault if the survivor has an outstanding warrant for a low level crime.
“Ensuring survivors receive the care they need should take priority over arresting them for a low level, nonviolent offense,” said Villa. “Regardless of the mistakes someone has made in the past, survivors should be empowered to come forward to law enforcement to report sexual assault and receive necessary medical care.”
Under current law, law enforcement must arrest survivors who have an outstanding warrant in their name, even if it is a low level offense. Instead of arrest, Villa’s House Bill 92 would require law enforcement’s focus to be on addressing the sexual assault by issuing the survivor a notice to appear in court for their previous offense. Villa’s measure would not bar law enforcement from arresting individuals that are wanted for violent felonies, such as murder or burglary.
“HB92 is a crucial step forward for victims reporting sexual assault,” said Carrie Ward, Executive Director of the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault. “Victims should not face the potential of being arrested as a result of reporting rape. This victim-centered legislation will help propel Illinois forward in its efforts to prosecute rapists and secure justice for rape survivors.”