§4 - Note
An Act concerning the rights of victims of sexual violence and supplementing Title 52 of the Revised Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the “Sexual Assault Victim’s Bill of Rights.”
2. The Legislature finds and declares that:
a. The enactment of the “Crime Victim’s Bill of Rights,” P.L.1985, c.249 (C.52:4B-34 et seq.) and the “New Jersey Campus Sexual Assault Victim’s Bill of Rights Act,” P.L.1994, c.160 (C.18A:61E-1 et seq.) have resulted in significant advances in the recognition and protection of the rights of crime victims and survivors once they enter the criminal justice system;
b. Nonetheless, victims of sexual violence 1[, more than other victims, are likely to] in particular often face circumstances where they may1 be blamed for the crime, assumed to be fabricating the crime, or taken less seriously than their injuries warrant. These victims are sometimes discouraged from proceeding with their complaints and as a result 1[are] may1 not 1be1 afforded the protections and rights 1[that other crime victims receive]1 in the criminal justice system 1to which they are entitled1;
c. Therefore, with no diminution of the legislatively-recognized rights of crime victims, it is the public policy of this State 1[to] that the criminal justice system1 accord victims of sexual violence the following rights:
(1) To have any allegation of sexual assault treated seriously; to be treated with dignity and compassion; and to be notified of existing medical, counseling, mental health, or other services available for victims of sexual assault, whether or not the crime is reported to law enforcement;
(2) To be free1, to the extent consistent with the New Jersey or United States Constitution,1 from any suggestion that victims are responsible for the commission of crimes against them 1[; to be free from] or1 any suggestion that victims were contributorily negligent or assumed the risk of being assaulted; 1[to]
(3) To1 be free from any suggestion that victims are to report the crimes to be assured of any other guaranteed right1[;]1 and 1[to be free from any suggestion]1 that victims should refrain from reporting crimes in order to avoid unwanted personal publicity;
1[(3)] (4)1 When applicable, to no-cost access to the services of a sexual assault response team comprised of: a certified forensic 1[sexual assault]1 nurse examiner, a 1[rape care] confidential sexual violence1 advocate, and a law enforcement official as provided in accordance with the Attorney General’s Standards for Providing Services to Victims of Sexual Assault, and the choice to opt into or out of any of the team’s services;
1[(4)] (5)1 To be informed of, and assisted in exercising, the right to be confidentially or anonymously tested for acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) or infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or any other related virus identified as a probable cause agent of AIDS; and to be informed of, and assisted in exercising, any rights that may be provided by law to compel and disclose the results of testing of a sexual assault suspect for communicable diseases;
1[(5)] (6)1 To have forensic medical evidence, if collected, retained for a minimum of five years, and to receive information about the status of the evidence upon request;
1[(6)] (7)1 To choose whether to participate in any investigation of the assault;
1[(7)] (8)1 To reasonable efforts to provide treatment and interviews in a language in which the victim is fluent and the right to be given access to appropriate assistive devices to accommodate disabilities that the victim may have, whether temporary or long term;
1[(8)] (9)1 To information and assistance in accessing specialized mental health services; protection from further violence; other appropriate community or governmental services, including services provided by the Victims of Crime Compensation Office; and all other assistance available to crime victims under current law;
1(10) To be apprised of the availability and process by which a court may order the taking of testimony from a victim via closed circuit television in accordance with section 1 of P.L.1985, c.126 (C.2A:84A-32.4);1 and
1[(9)] (11)1 To be apprised of the availability and process by which to seek protections through a temporary or final protective order under the “Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act of 2015,” P.L.2015, c.147 (C.2C:14-13 et seq.), if the victim believes that the victim is at risk for re-victimization or further harm by the perpetrator.
3. The 1[Victims of Crime Compensation Office] Attorney General1, in consultation with the 1[Executive Director of the]1 New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault, shall publish a notice of 1[these] the1 rights 1[and shall promulgate regulations that require that these rights be posted in all] enumerated in the “Sexual Assault Victim’s Bill of Rights” pursuant to subsection c. of section 2 of this act, and shall make this notice available to the public on the Internet website of the Department of Law and Public Safety. All1 hospital emergency departments, police stations and other law enforcement agencies, sexual violence service organizations, and any other 1[appropriate place to inform] entity informing1 victims of sexual violence of their rights 1shall post a copy of this notice in a conspicuous location that is available to the public1.
The Attorney General shall incorporate the rights and services enumerated in the “Sexual Assault Victim’s Bill of Rights” pursuant to 1[P.L. , c. (C. ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill)] this act1 and in the “Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act of 2015,” P.L.2015, c.147 (C.2C:14-13 et seq.), in the Attorney General Standards for Providing Services to Victims of Sexual Assault to ensure the compassionate and sensitive delivery of services to all sexual violence victims.
4. This act shall take effect on the first day of the seventh month next following the date of enactment, but the Attorney General 1[and the Director of the Victims of Crime Compensation Office]1 may take 1[such] any1 anticipatory administrative action in advance thereof as shall be necessary for the implementation of this act.
Establishes the “Sexual Assault Victim’s Bill of Rights.”