Senator Saland Announces Signing Of His Bill To Provide Sex Crime Victims With Potentially Life Saving Information

Stephen M. Saland

August 20, 2007

Senator Steve Saland (R,I,C Poughkeepsie) today announced his bill, S.6357, to authorize a court to order a defendant to submit to HIV testing upon indictment on certain sex offenses has been signed into law by the Governor. Under current law, victims of sex crimes can only find out if their attacker is HIV positive after he is convicted, and convictions can sometimes happen years after the crime took place. Senator Saland has fought for years to provide victims of these heinous crimes with this critically important information.

"It is unconscionable that, until now, sex crimes victims have spent months or years waiting to find out if their attacker exposed them to HIV, which may have life threatening consequences", said Senator Saland. "These victims have been traumatized enough -- they should not have to agonize for even one day longer than necessary to receive this critical information. The law avoids the risk of prejudice to a defendant, and any inconvenience to such a defendant is greatly outweighed by the victim's urgent need for information necessary to obtain appropriate medical care," Saland continued.

Additionally, this new law requires hospitals to provide victims with appropriate HIV exposure medical treatment and let them know of the availability of compensation from the Crime Victims Board. Given the significant cost of HIV treatment, this is especially important for victims who may not have health insurance and cannot afford such treatment.

The new law takes effect November 1st.