(KXNET) — In North Dakota in 2021, there were more than 1,100 primary victims and nearly 300 secondary victims of sexual assault.
And legislation is being heard now, to protect survivors’ rights.
House Bill 1518 would add a new section to Chapter 12.1-34 of the North Dakota Century Code, which would cover sexual assault survivors’ rights, instead of just victims’ rights.
The bill covers things like having access to reports, not paying for a forensic medical exam, and the right to have an attorney or sexual assault advocate present when speaking to law enforcement.
And one group we spoke to, the Domestic Violence Crisis Center, supports this bill.
“Knowing that they’ll have somebody in their corner as an advocate, they’ll also have that exam covered, and I think that takes some of the weight off of it. It’s always a challenging thing to come forward and share your trauma with others, but everything that we can do as a state to be supportive of survivors I think is important,” said Jill McDonald, the executive director of the Domestic Violence Crisis Center.
There was a committee hearing for the bill on Wednesday where at last check, half of the members had voted in favor of continuing it.