Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter II. Sexual Assault Victims’ Rights.


§ 23–1907. Definitions.

For the purposes of this subchapter, the term:

(1) "DC SANE Program" means the DC Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program that provides comprehensive medical forensic care to sexual assault victims, including:

(A) The DC Forensic Nurse Examiners;

(B) The Child and Adolescent Protection Center; or

(C) Any other entity within the District that is a member of the SART, or the multidisciplinary investigation team, described in § 4-1301.51.

(2) "Forensic nurse examiner" means a nurse with specialized training in medical forensic evidence collection who provides comprehensive medical forensic care to sexual assault victims and participates in the DC SANE Program.

(3) "Hospital" means a facility that provides 24-hour inpatient care, including diagnostic, therapeutic, and other health-related services, for a variety of physical or mental conditions, and may, in addition, provide outpatient services, particularly emergency care.

(4) "Interview" means any interview conducted by the MPD or other District agency with a sexual assault victim relating to the alleged sexual assault.

(5) "MPD" means the Metropolitan Police Department.

(6) "OVSJG" means the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants, established pursuant to Mayor's Order 2016-171.

(7) "PERK" means a Physical Evidence Recovery Kit used to collect and preserve physical evidence related to a sexual assault or alleged sexual assault.

(8) "SART" shall have the same meaning as provided in § 4-561.01(11).

(9) "Sexual assault" means any of the following offenses: §§ 22-1834 (sex trafficking of children); 22-2704 (abducting or enticing child from his or her home for the purposes of prostitution; harboring such child); 22-2705 (pandering; inducing or compelling an individual to engage in prostitution); 22-2706 (compelling an individual to live life of prostitution against his or her will); 22-2708 (causing spouse or domestic partner to live in prostitution); 22-2709 (detaining an individual in disorderly house for debt there contracted); 22-1901 (incest); 22-3002 (first degree sexual abuse); 22-3003 (second degree sexual abuse); 22-3004 (third degree sexual abuse); 22-3005 (fourth degree sexual abuse); 22-3006 (misdemeanor sexual abuse); 22-3008 (first degree child sexual abuse); 22-3009 (second degree child sexual abuse); 22-3009.01 (first degree sexual abuse of a minor); 22-3009.02 (second degree sexual abuse of a minor); 22-3009.03 (first degree sexual abuse of a secondary education student); 22-3009.04 (second degree sexual abuse of a secondary education student); 22-3010 (enticing a child or minor); 22-3010.01 (misdemeanor sexual abuse of a child or minor); 22-3010.02 (arranging for sexual contact with a real or fictitious child); 22-3013 (first degree sexual abuse of a ward, patient, client, or prisoner); 22-3014 (second degree sexual abuse of a ward, patient, client, or prisoner); 22-3015 (first degree sexual abuse of a patient or client); 22-3016 (second degree sexual abuse of a patient or client); 22-3018 (attempts to commit sexual offenses); or 22-3102 (knowingly using a minor in a sexual performance or promoting a sexual performance by a minor).

(10) "Sexual assault counselor" means an employee, contractor, or volunteer of a community-based organization serving sexual assault victims 13 years of age or older who:

(A) Renders support, counseling, or assistance to a sexual assault victim;

(B) Has undergone at least 40 hours of training related to sexual assault counseling using a curriculum approved by the OVSJG that includes instruction on:

(i) The dynamics and history of sexual assault and gender-based violence;

(ii) Sex trafficking and other forms of commercial sexual exploitation;

(iii) Trauma resulting from sexual assault, gender-based violence, and commercial sexual exploitation;

(iv) Responding to the specific needs of youth sexual assault victims;

(v) Responding to the specific needs of sexual assault victims with respect to their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression;

(vi) Trauma-informed care, crisis intervention, personal safety, and risk management; and

(vii) Cultural humility;

(viii) The sexual assault victim advocate dispatch system, developed by OVSJG and approved by the SART, pursuant to § 23-1909(e); and

(ix) Services available to sexual assault victims, including how to access medical forensic care services available through the DC SANE Programs; and

(C) Is supervised by an individual who has a minimum of:

(i) 5 years of experience rendering support, counseling, or assistance to sexual assault victims; or

(ii) 3 years of experience rendering support, counseling, or assistance to sexual assault victims and an advanced degree in a related field.

(11) "Sexual assault victim" means any individual against whom a sexual assault has been committed or is alleged to have been committed, including:

(A) Deceased individuals; and

(B) Representatives appointed by the court to exercise the rights and receive services on behalf of sexual assault victims who are under 18 years of age, incompetent, incapacitated, or deceased.

(12) "Sexual assault victim advocate" means an employee or contractor of a community-based organization whose director or their director's designee is a member of the SART and who:

(A) Is a sexual assault counselor; and

(B) Has undergone an additional 20 hours of training related to sexual assault victim advocacy using a curriculum approved by the OVSJG that includes instruction on:

(i) The District's criminal justice system;

(ii) Crime victims' rights; and

(iii) Avoiding the unauthorized practice of law.

(13) "Sexual Assault Victim's Rights Card" means a document, published by OVSJG in consultation with the SART, printed in the most widely spoken languages in the District, that advises sexual assault victims of their rights under this subchapter.

(14) "Sexual assault youth victim advocate" means an employee or contractor of a community-based organization whose director or the director's designee is a member of the SART and who:

(A) Qualifies as a sexual assault victim advocate; and

(B) Has undergone an additional 20 hours of training related to youth sexual assault victim advocacy using a curriculum approved by the OVSJG that includes instruction on:

(i) Providing services to sexual assault victims under the age of 18, including the different needs of children and adolescents;

(ii) Navigating family dynamics in the context of providing services to children and adolescents who have experienced sexual assault;

(iii) The co-occurrence of child abuse in children and adolescents who have experienced sexual assault; and

(iv) Children's susceptibility to suggestive questioning, the impact suggestive questions have on criminal investigations and prosecutions, and techniques for minimizing the potential for suggestibility.


(Nov. 20, 2014, D.C. Law 20-139, § 101(c), 61 DCR 5913; Mar. 3, 2020, D.C. Law 23-57, § 8(b), 66 DCR 15914.)

Applicability

Section 402 of D.C. Law 23-274 provided that the amendments made to this section by Law 23-57 shall apply as of January 1, 2021.

Section 3 of D.C. Act 23-552 provided that the amendments made to this section by Law 23-57 shall apply as of January 1, 2021. Therefore those amendments shall be implemented for this section on January 1, 2021.

Section 3 of D.C. Act 23-412 provided that the amendments made to this section by Law 23-57 shall apply as of January 1, 2021. Therefore those amendments shall be implemented for this section on January 1, 2021.

Section 9(a) of D.C. Law 23-57 provided that the amendments made to this section by Law 23-57 shall apply as of October 1, 2020. Therefore those amendments shall be implemented for this section on October 1, 2020.


§ 23–1908. Sexual assault victims' rights.

(a) In addition to the rights set forth in subchapter I of this chapter, a sexual assault victim shall have the right to have:

(1) A PERK performed at no cost;

(2) To have their PERK and any additional probative or evidentiary contents preserved, without charge, for 65 years from the date the crime is first reported to the law enforcement agency, as that term is defined in § 5-113.31(9);

(3) For sexual assault victims 18 years of age or older, a sexual assault victim advocate, and for sexual assault victims ages 13 to 17, a sexual assault youth victim advocate, present during any:

(A) Forensic medical, evidentiary, or physical examination;

(B) Point during the hospital visit; provided, that the presence of a sexual assault victim advocate or a sexual assault youth victim advocate does not pose health or safety risks to the sexual assault victim, the sexual assault victim advocate, or the sexual assault youth victim advocate; and

(C) Interview.

(b) A sexual assault victim shall have the rights provided in subsection (a)(3) of this section even if the sexual assault victim previously declined the presence of a sexual assault victim advocate or a sexual assault youth victim advocate.


(Nov. 20, 2014, D.C. Law 20-139, § 101(c), 61 DCR 5913; Mar. 3, 2020, D.C. Law 23-57, § 8(c), 66 DCR 15914.)

Applicability

Section 402 of D.C. Law 23-274 provided that the amendments made to this section by Law 23-57 shall apply as of January 1, 2021.

Section 3 of D.C. Act 23-552 provided that the amendments made to this section by Law 23-57 shall apply as of January 1, 2021. Therefore those amendments shall be implemented for this section on January 1, 2021.

Section 3 of D.C. Act 23-412 provided that the amendments made to this section by Law 23-57 shall apply as of January 1, 2021. Therefore those amendments shall be implemented for this section on January 1, 2021.

Section 9(a) of D.C. Law 23-57 provided that the amendments made to this section by Law 23-57 shall apply as of October 1, 2020. Therefore those amendments shall be implemented for this section on October 1, 2020.


§ 23–1909. Sexual assault victim advocates and sexual assault youth victim advocates; sexual assault victim advocate dispatch system.

(a)(1) Hospitals shall, if a sexual assault victim who is 13 years of age or older consents, immediately notify the sexual assault victim advocate dispatch system before beginning any forensic medical, evidentiary, or physical examination arising out of a sexual assault or an alleged sexual assault.

(2) A sexual assault victim advocate shall, for sexual assault victims 18 years of age or older, and a sexual assault youth victim advocate shall, for sexual assault victims ages 13 to 17, inform the sexual assault victim of their rights under this subchapter.

(b) The MPD shall, for a person known or suspected to be a sexual assault victim 13 years of age or older:

(1) Upon making, provide to that person a Sexual Assault Victim's Rights Card;

(2) Before beginning an interview, advise the person of a sexual assault victim's right to either a sexual assault victim advocate, if the sexual assault victim is 18 years of age or older, or a sexual assault youth victim advocate, if the sexual assault victim is ages 13 to 17;

(3) If a sexual assault victim asserts their right to a sexual assault victim advocate or a sexual assault youth victim advocate, only conduct a minimal facts interview before the sexual assault victim consults with the advocate; and

(4) If a sexual assault victim declines their right to a sexual assault victim advocate or sexual assault youth victim advocate, notify the sexual assault victim of their right to have a sexual assault victim advocate or a sexual assault youth victim advocate present as provided in § 23-1908.

(c)(1) By June 1, 2020, the independent expert consultant, as that term is defined in § 4-561.01(6), shall submit to the MPD a report making recommendations on the scope of a minimal facts inquiry.

(2)(A) By April 1, 2020, the independent expert consultant shall provide a draft of the report making recommendations on the scope of a minimal facts inquiry to the SART.

(B) SART members may provide to the independent expert consultant written comments in response to that draft report within a reasonable period of time, to be determined by the independent expert consultant, but not less than one month.

(3) The independent expert consultant shall consider all written comments that are timely received from SART members under paragraph (2)(B) of this subsection and submit its final report to the MPD based on the comments received.

(4) The MPD shall, within 60 days after receiving the independent expert consultant's final report, issue a general order regarding the scope of a minimal facts inquiry.

(d) The MPD's duties described in subsection (b) of this section shall:

(1) For sexual assault victims ages 13 to 17, be performed by a member of MPD's Youth Division; and

(2) For sexual assault victims 18 years of age or older, be performed by a member of MPD's Sexual Assault Unit.

(e)(1) There is established a sexual assault victim advocate dispatch system that:

(A) For a sexual assault victim ages 13 to 17:

(i) Dispatches a sexual assault youth victim advocate to settings in which the sexual assault victim has the right to a sexual assault youth victim advocate's presence pursuant to § 23-1908(a)(3); or

(ii) Provides the sexual assault victim with electronic access, including telephonic access, to a sexual assault youth victim advocate:

(I) In settings or during times in which dispatching a sexual assault youth victim advocate is impracticable; or

(II) Upon the sexual assault victim's request; and

(B) For a sexual assault victim 18 years of age or older:

(i) Dispatches a sexual assault victim advocate to settings in which the sexual assault victim has the right to a sexual assault victim advocate's presence pursuant to § 23-1908(a)(3); or

(ii) Provides the sexual assault victim with electronic access, including telephonic access, to a sexual assault victim advocate:

(I) In settings or during times in which dispatching a sexual assault advocate is impracticable; or

(II) Upon the sexual assault victim's request.

(2) The sexual assault victim advocate dispatch system shall be developed by OVSJG and approved by the SART.


(Nov. 20, 2014, D.C. Law 20-139, § 101(c), 61 DCR 5913; Mar. 3, 2020, D.C. Law 23-57, § 8(d), 66 DCR 15914.)

Applicability

Section 9(b) of D.C. Law 23-57 provided that the changes made to this section by section 8(d) of D.C. Law 23-57 shall apply as of March 3, 2020.


§ 23–1910. Access to information.

(a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, in addition to the notice requirements set forth in subchapter I of this chapter, for a sexual assault victim 13 years of age or older, MPD shall:

(1) Inform the sexual assault victim of:

(A) The status of any medical forensic examination, PERK, or toxicology test related to the sexual assault, including the reasons for any delay in processing and the eventual completion of the testing and analysis of specimens related to the case, within 15 business days after any material change in the status of the medical forensic examination, PERK, or toxicology test; and

(B) Any PERK test results, DNA testing results, toxicology report, or other information collected as part of a medical forensic examination within 15 business days after the results become available; provided, that the MPD is not required to disclose to the sexual assault victim the identity of any suspect implicated by DNA or similar testing for cases with an open investigation or active prosecution;

(2) Provide the sexual assault victim, upon request, with a written copy of all policies governing the administration and preservation of a PERK;

(3) Have the PERK and its probative contents preserved for 65 years from the date the crime is first reported to the law enforcement agency, as that term is defined in § 5-113.31(9);

(4) Provide the sexual assault victim with written notification at least 60 days before the date of the intended destruction or disposal of the PERK; and

(5) Make reasonable attempts to notify a sexual assault victim 13 years of age or older of the MPD's intent to communicate with a suspect before communicating with the suspect and alerting the suspect of the sexual assault allegation made against the suspect; provided, that if prior notification is not possible, notification shall be made as soon as is reasonably possible after the communication with the suspect has occurred.

(b)(1) A sexual assault victim 13 years of age or older may request, in writing, that the MPD not perform any of its duties described in subsection (a) of this section.

(2) If a sexual assault victim 13 years of age or older requests that the MPD not perform any of its duties described in subsection (a) of this section, the MPD shall not perform those duties, unless the sexual assault victim later requests that the MPD perform those duties; provided, that if a sexual assault victim requests that the MPD not preserve his or her PERK and its probative contents pursuant to subsection (a)(3) of this section, a sexual assault victim may not subsequently request that the MPD preserve his or her PERK and its probative contents pursuant to subsection (a)(3) of this section.

(3)(A) The DFS shall notify the MPD of any material change in the status of any medical forensic examination, PERK, or toxicology test within 7 days after the material change.

(B) The DFS shall notify the MPD of any PERK test results, DNA testing results, toxicology report, or other information collected as part of a medical forensic examination within 7 business days after the results become available.


(Nov. 20, 2014, D.C. Law 20-139, § 101(c), 61 DCR 5913; Mar. 3, 2020, D.C. Law 23-57, § 8(e), 66 DCR 15914.)

Applicability

Section 9(a) of D.C. Law 23-57 provided that the amendments made to this section by Law 23-57 shall apply as of October 1, 2020. Therefore those amendments shall be implemented for this section on October 1, 2020.


§ 23–1911. No cause of action.

This subchapter does not create a cause of action or defense in favor of any person arising out of the failure to accord to a sexual assault victim the rights enumerated in § 23-1908 or the violation of any other provision of this subchapter.


(Nov. 20, 2014, D.C. Law 20-139, § 101(c), 61 DCR 5913.)

Editor's Notes

Section 301 of D.C. Law 20-139 provided that the Mayor, pursuant to § 2-501 et seq., may issue rules to implement the provisions of the act.