KCSDV prepares State Response Plan to address sexual violence
Sexual violence continues to have a devastating impact in Kansas, and in 2008, the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence recognized and responded to the need for a coordinated, comprehensive state-wide response plan to address sexual violence. This State Response Plan will help guide future anti-sexual violence work throughout the state. Advocates will be able to use this plan within their communities to focus their efforts on behalf of victims and survivors of sexual violence. KCSDV anticipates publication of the plan in early 2009.
KCSDV thanks the advisory committee that developed and reviewed the State Response Plan. Committee members included representatives from the Governor's Grants Office, the Attorney General's Office, the Kansas Association of Centers for Independent Living, Northwest Kansas Domestic & Sexual Violence Services, The Crisis Center Inc., Wichita State University, Hays Police Department, Office of the Crawford County Attorney, Lenexa Police Department, the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault, Kansas Department of Corrections Victims Services, GaDuGi SafeCenter, Via Christi Regional Medical Center, the Office of the Riley County Attorney, and the Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center.
New materials available in Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kits
In the summer of 2008, a task force convened by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) discussed the statewide implementation of HB 2726, which amended K.S.A. 65-448, the law governing Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kits.
The amendments to K.S.A. 65-448, driven by Congressional mandates contained in the 2005 Violence Against Women Act, now allow a victim of sexual assault to request that a sexual assault evidence collection kit be performed without a report to law enforcement. Previously, only a law enforcement officer could request evidence collection after a rape or sexual assault.
While it may seem counter intuitive to allow collection of evidence without a report to law enforcement, this new law works in the favor of the victim, giving the victim the ability to seek support and gather information before making the critical decision to involve the criminal justice system. KCSDV believes that with the support of an advocate, it is more likely that the victim will choose to make a report.
In reviewing implementation of the legislation, the task force members also discovered that the materials provided in the sexual assault evidence collection kits would need revisions. They took this opportunity to improve both the instructional information for health care providers, as well as the materials that are available to victims, in an effort to improve the sexual assault forensic exam for all parties involved.
Health care providers will now have the benefit of a more thorough set of instructions to help guide them through the exam, and victims that receive a forensic exam will now receive a Frequently Asked Questions brochure, as well as information from the Crime Victims Compensation Board and the statewide crisis hotline.
The KBI's task force consisted of staff from KCSDV, the Governor's Grant's Office, the Kansas Hospitals Association, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Via Christi Regional Medical Center (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program), and the KBI.