Chapter 70.125 RCW

VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT ACT

Sections

70.125.010Short title.
70.125.020Findings.
70.125.030Definitions.
70.125.060Personal representative may accompany victim during treatment or proceedings.
70.125.065Records of community sexual assault program and underserved populations provider not available as part of discoveryExceptions.
70.125.090Sexual assault examination kitRequest for laboratory examinationReport to the legislature.

NOTES:

Public records: Chapter 42.56 RCW.
Victims of crimes
compensation, assistance: Chapter 7.68 RCW.
survivors, witnesses: Chapter 7.69 RCW.


Short title.

This chapter may be known and cited as the Victims of Sexual Assault Act.

NOTES:

Severability1979 ex.s. c 219: "If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected." [ 1979 ex.s. c 219 § 22.]



Findings.

The legislature hereby finds and declares that:
(1) Sexual assault is a serious crime in society, affecting a large number of children, women, and men each year;
(2) Efforts over many years to distribute information and collect data have demonstrated the incidence of sexual assault that continues to impact communities, families, and individuals;
(3) Over the past three decades, law enforcement, prosecutors, medical professionals, educators, mental health providers, public health professionals, and victim advocates have benefited from a commitment to training and learning regarding appropriate responses to and services for victims of sexual assault;
(4) This same effort has resulted in increased public awareness of sexual assault and its impact on communities, families, and individuals;
(5) Law enforcement, prosecutors, medical professionals, educators, mental health providers, public health professionals, and victim advocates should continue to work closely and collaboratively to improve responses to and services for victims of sexual assault;
(6) The physical, emotional, financial, and psychological needs of victims and their families are particularly well-served by timely and effective services provided in local communities; and
(7) Persons who are victims of sexual assault benefit directly from continued public awareness and education, prosecutions of offenders, a criminal justice system which treats them in a humane manner, and access to victim-centered, culturally relevant services.

NOTES:

Severability1979 ex.s. c 219: See note following RCW 70.125.010.



Definitions.

The definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter unless the context clearly requires otherwise.
(1) "Community sexual assault program" means a community-based social service agency that is qualified to provide and provides core services to victims of sexual assault.
(2) "Core services" means those services that are victim-centered community-based advocacy responses to alleviate the impact of sexual assault, as delineated in the Washington state sexual assault services plan of 1995 and its subsequent revisions.
(3) "Department" means the department of commerce.
(4) "Law enforcement agencies" means police and sheriff's departments and tribal law enforcement departments or agencies of this state.
(5) "Personal representative" means a friend, relative, attorney, or employee or volunteer from a community sexual assault program or specialized treatment service provider.
(6) "Services for underserved populations" means culturally relevant victim-centered community-based advocacy responses to alleviate the impact of sexual assault, as delineated in the Washington state sexual assault services plan of 1995 and its subsequent revisions.
(7) "Sexual assault" means one or more of the following:
(a) Rape or rape of a child;
(b) Assault with intent to commit rape or rape of a child;
(c) Incest or indecent liberties;
(d) Child molestation;
(e) Sexual misconduct with a minor;
(f) Custodial sexual misconduct;
(g) Crimes with a sexual motivation;
(h) Sexual exploitation or commercial sex abuse of a minor;
(i) Promoting prostitution; or
(j) An attempt to commit any of the aforementioned offenses.
(8) "Specialized services" means those services intended to alleviate the impact of sexual assault, as delineated in the Washington state sexual assault services plan of 1995 and its subsequent revisions.
(9) "Victim" means any person who suffers physical, emotional, financial, and psychological impact as a proximate result of a sexual assault.

NOTES:

Transfer of powers and duties1996 c 123: "The powers and duties of the department of social and health services under this chapter shall be transferred to the *department of community, trade, and economic development on July 1, 1996. The department of social and health services shall transfer all unspent appropriated funds, records, and documents necessary to facilitate a successful transfer." [ 1996 c 123 § 9.]
*Reviser's note: The "department of community, trade, and economic development" was renamed the "department of commerce" by 2009 c 565.
Effective date1996 c 123: See note following RCW 43.280.010.
Effective dateSavingsApplication1988 c 145: See notes following RCW 9A.44.010.
Severability1979 ex.s. c 219: See note following RCW 70.125.010.



Personal representative may accompany victim during treatment or proceedings.

If the victim of a sexual assault so desires, a personal representative of the victim's choice may accompany the victim to the hospital or other health care facility, and to proceedings concerning the alleged assault, including police and prosecution interviews and court proceedings.

NOTES:

Severability1979 ex.s. c 219: See note following RCW 70.125.010.



Records of community sexual assault program and underserved populations provider not available as part of discoveryExceptions.

Records maintained by a community sexual assault program and underserved populations provider shall not be made available to any defense attorney as part of discovery in a sexual assault case unless:
(1) A written pretrial motion is made by the defendant to the court stating that the defendant is requesting discovery of the community sexual assault program or underserved populations provider records;
(2) The written motion is accompanied by an affidavit or affidavits setting forth specifically the reasons why the defendant is requesting discovery of the community sexual assault program or underserved populations provider records;
(3) The court reviews the community sexual assault program or underserved populations provider records in camera to determine whether the community sexual assault program or underserved populations provider records are relevant and whether the probative value of the records is outweighed by the victim's privacy interest in the confidentiality of such records taking into account the further trauma that may be inflicted upon the victim by the disclosure of the records to the defendant; and
(4) The court enters an order stating whether the records or any part of the records are discoverable and setting forth the basis for the court's findings.



Sexual assault examination kitRequest for laboratory examinationReport to the legislature.

*** CHANGE IN 2019 *** (SEE 1166-S2.SL) ***
(1) When a law enforcement agency receives a sexual assault examination kit, the law enforcement agency must, within thirty days of its receipt, submit a request for laboratory examination to the Washington state patrol crime laboratory for prioritization for testing by it or another accredited laboratory that holds an outsourcing agreement with the Washington state patrol if:
(a) Consent has been given by the victim; or
(b) The victim is a person under the age of eighteen who is not emancipated pursuant to chapter 13.64 RCW.
(2) Subject to available funding, the Washington state patrol crime laboratory must give priority to the laboratory examination of sexual assault examination kits at the request of a local law enforcement agency for:
(a) Active investigations and cases with impending court dates;
(b) Active investigations where public safety is an immediate concern;
(c) Violent crimes investigations, including active sexual assault investigations;
(d) Postconviction cases; and
(e) Other crimes' investigations and nonactive investigations, such as previously unsubmitted older sexual assault kits or recently collected sexual assault kits that the submitting agency has determined to be lower priority based on their initial investigation.
(3) The failure of a law enforcement agency to submit a request for laboratory examination within the time prescribed under this section does not constitute grounds in any criminal proceeding for challenging the validity of a DNA evidence association, and any evidence obtained from the sexual assault examination kit may not be excluded by a court on those grounds.
(4) A person accused or convicted of committing a crime against a victim has no standing to object to any failure to comply with the requirements of this section, and the failure to comply with the requirements of this section is not grounds for setting aside the conviction or sentence.
(5) Nothing in this section may be construed to create a private right of action or claim on the part of any individual, entity, or agency against any law enforcement agency or any contractor of any law enforcement agency.
(6) This section applies prospectively only and not retroactively. It only applies to sexual assault examinations performed on or after July 24, 2015.
(7)(a) Until June 30, 2018, the Washington state patrol shall compile the following information related to the sexual assault examination kits identified in this section:
(i) The number of requests for laboratory examination made for sexual assault examination kits and the law enforcement agencies that submitted the requests; and
(ii) The progress made towards testing the sexual assault examination kits, including the status of requests for laboratory examination made by each law enforcement agency.
(b) The Washington state patrol shall make recommendations for increasing the progress on testing any untested sexual assault examination kits.
(c) Beginning in 2015, the Washington state patrol shall report its findings and recommendations annually to the appropriate committees of the legislature and the governor by December 1st of each year.