AUSTIN – Today State Representative Tony Dale filed two pieces of legislation to protect victims of sexual assault.
House Bill 1446 protects victims from surprise out-of-pocket medical charges following a post-sexual assault medical examination. Representative Dale issued the following statement regarding HB 1446:
“Some sexual assault victims receive bills in the mail for post-attack forensic medical examinations. This should never happen; it has the effect of victimizing the person a second time. Texans should not be discouraged in any way from seeking help immediately following a sexual assault. After this kind of traumatic crime, victims should not bear a financial burden for the medical examination that is intended to be used as a tool for law enforcement to collect evidence to prosecute the offender”.
Representative Dale also filed House Bill 1447 that allows courts to issue a protective order at the time of criminals conviction so that when the perpetrator is released from prison the order is already in effect. Under current law, victims of sexual assault must request protective orders when the convict is released from prison. Currently, it can be difficult for law enforcement and process servers to locate the perpetrator immediately following their release from prison to serve papers notifying the perpetrator of the order. HB 1447 remedies those situations.
Representative Dale worked with the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault to craft this legislation. Rose Luna, Director of Communications for TAASA offered support in saying,
“Sexual assault survivors deserve peace of mind and quality medical care with no hidden costs. Representative Dale’s bills are in the best interest of survivors and Texas communities as a whole.”
Patty Conner, Chief Executive Officer of the Hope Alliance, also weighed in on the legislation by issuing the following statement:
“Victims of sexual assault face many obstacles to recovery and the pursuit of justice. The actual financial expense associated with collecting evidence and creating safety for themselves and their families are among the challenges. Making it possible for victims to be reimbursed for forensic exam is an important way to support victims and encourage their participation in the justice process, as well as helping them to avoid
re-victimization. Hope Alliance strongly supports HB 1446 and HB 1447 and applauds Representative Dale’s leadership on these issues.”
A full text of the bills can be found here:
State Representative Tony Dale is a member of the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee, the House Energy Resources Committee, and the House Local and Consent Calendars Committee. He represents southwestern Williamson County including the communities of Cedar Park, Leander, Brushy Creek, and portions of Austin and Round Rock.
Contact: Amy Rister