Survivor's Rights

Every victim of sexual assault should have the right:

 

  • To be treated with dignity and respect by institutional and legal personnel.
  • To have as much credibility as a victim of any other crime.
  • To be considered a victim of rape when any unwanted act of sex is forced on her/him through any type of coercion; violent or otherwise.
  • To be asked only those questions that are relevant to a court case or to medical treatment.
  • To receive medical and mental health services whether or not the rape is reported to the police and at no cost.
  • To receive medical and mental health treatment or participate in legal procedures only after giving informed consent. (Information should include all possible options.)
  • To be treated in a manner which does not seize control from the victim, but which enables her/him to determine her/his own needs and how to meet them.
  • To not be exposed to prejudice against race, age, class, lifestyle or occupation.
  • To have access to support persons such as Advocates outside the institutions.
  • To have access to peer counseling.
  • To be provided with information about her/his rights.
  • To have the best possible collection of evidence for court.
  • To not be asked questions about prior sexual experience.
  • To have common reactions to the rape, such as sleeplessness, nightmares, hostility toward men, anxiety, fear etc. NOT be considered pathological behavior.
  • To have access to a secure living situation or other measure which might help allay fears of future assault.
  • To have her/his name kept out of the media.
  • To be considered a victim of rape regardless of the assailant’s relationship to the victim; such as the victim’s spouse.
  • To have deterred her/his assailant by any means necessary; no victim should be criminally prosecuted for harming the assailant in the process of preventing an attempted rape.
  • To receive medical treatment without parental consent if she/he is a minor.
  • To have access to supportive legal services.
  • To have a preliminary hearing in each case when an arrest has been made.
  • To be advised of the possibility of a civil suit.

 

 

Reprinted with permission of the Rape Information and Counseling Service, Springfield, IL

 

 

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