Grassley Statement at Judiciary Hearing on Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights
Prepared Statement by Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee
Survivors’ Bill of Rights: Implementation and Next Steps
June 26, 2018
Good morning. Today our Committee will focus on an issue of enormous importance: ensuring that victims of sexual violence are fairly treated in the criminal justice system.
Today we will review the implementation of that new law, known as the Survivors’ Bill of Rights. We’ll also explore additional ways to encourage more victims of sexual violence to come forward and report the crime to the authorities.
But we still need to do more to fully understand the reasons why less than half of rape survivors ever come forward and report the crime. Some victim advocates argue that our criminal justice system re-victimizes survivors. Others maintain that the failure to report is due to fear of reprisal, a desire to keep the crime a secret from others or a perception that the police cannot help. I hope that both Amanda as well as Terry Crews, who have bravely come forward to share their experiences, can help shed more light on this issue through their testimony today.
Finally, I look forward to hearing from the National Institute of Justice, which convened a working group to develop best practices for collecting and preserving evidence in sexual assault cases. The 35 recommendations developed by this working group were the product of about two years of work. They include suggested ways to better support rape victims throughout the criminal justice process. That’s of vital importance, because research suggests that rapists typically strikes multiple times before being apprehended. I’d like to thank Dr. Howard Spivak of NIJ, the lead author of the report containing these recommendations, for sharing his expertise with us.
In closing, I hope that today’s hearing will help us better understand two things: first, the impact that the Survivors’ Bill of Rights has had. And second, what more we can do to better promote justice for victims in the criminal justice system.