HB 2032 – a key part of the Safer Pennsylvania Act – would ensure sexual assault victims remain anonymous as they recieve healthcare and their cases are investigated
HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania crime survivors today praised the House Judiciary Committee passage of HB 2032 – a key part of the Safer Pennsylvania Act, a package of bills to improve safety and support crime victims in Pennsylvania. HB 2032 provides a fix to the Sexual Assault Testing and Evidence Collection Act, which passed the legislature in 2019, and guarantees the right of sexual assault victims to remain anonymous as evidence is collected, preserved, and tested. However, this presents a conflict with mandatory crime reporting requirements of healthcare professionals. This bill creates an exception to the mandatory reporting of identifying information, allowing victims to protect their privacy as they seek healthcare and evidence is collected in their case.
HB 2032, sponsored by Representative Meghan Schroeder (R-Bucks), also directs the Pennsylvania State Police – in consultation with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape – to study how to create and implement a rape kit tracking system that would be accessible to survivors. More on HB 2032 can be found here.
“Safer communities aren’t possible until we fully support victims in their greatest time of need,” said Aswad Thomas, vice president of the Alliance for Safety and Justice and national director for Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice. “HB 2032 provides a critical fix to an admirable law – further protecting the safety and privacy of sexual assault victims as they heal from violence. We thank Representative Schroeder and members of the House Judiciary Committee for standing with victims and empowering them to take control of their recovery. We look forward to working with the legislature in passing the other components of the Safer Pennsylvania Act, so we can further reduce barriers to help and healing.”
“As a survivor, I know the physical and emotional toll that trauma can have on your wellbeing. Everyone handles their healing process differently, but there is no doubt that providing support to victims can help put an end to cycles of trauma. HB 2032 allows victims of sexual assault to protect their identity, ensure their own safety, and receive the care they need while healing. This is just one part of the Safer Pennsylvania Act, which expands support for all victims so we can make our communities stronger and safer. We look forward to working with our leaders to further meet victims’ needs and stop cycles of victimization,” said Alexandra Abboud, local crime survivor and Pennsylvania state manager for Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice.
An overview of the Safer Pennsylvania Act is available here.
About the Alliance for Safety and Justice
Alliance for Safety and Justice (ASJ) is a multi-state advocacy organization that aims to replace ineffective criminal justice system policies with what works to keep people safe. It partners with leaders to advance state reform through networking, coalition building, research, education, and advocacy. It also brings together diverse crime survivors to advance policies that help communities most harmed by crime and violence, as part of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice – its national network of over 90,000 crime survivors that includes over 3,000 survivors from 64 of the Commonwealth’s 67 counties. For more information, visit https://allianceforsafetyandjustice.org.