Governor Signs Bill Guaranteeing Forensic Medical Exams for Victims of Sexual Assault

DA O’Malley commends passage of legislation that saves State’s eligibility to receive millions in
Federal funding for sexual assault victim services

On September 28, 2011 Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 534, which ensures that all victims of sexual assault are guaranteed a forensic sexual assault exam at no cost to the victim. The legislation was introduced by California Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro), and sponsored by Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O'Malley and the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA).

California has been receiving between $13 million and $19 million annually in federal funds from the Office on Violence Against Women for its STOP program. “STOP” refers to Specialized Units, Training, Officer, Prosecutor. Through the STOP Program, funds are distributed to California’s Rape Crisis Centers and Domestic Violence Shelters and Programs, as well as to Law Enforcement and Prosecutor Offices to ensure a comprehensive response to sexual assault and domestic violence.

Absent this critical legislation, California stood to lose between $13 and $19 in annual Federal funding.

DA O'Malley states "this legislation signifies a major victory for victims of sexual assault throughout the State. By ensuring a funding stream for forensic examinations, SB 534 guarantees a procedure that can capture any critical evidence of the sexual assault crime, such as biological fluid that produces a DNA profile of the perpetrator(s) of sexual assault crimes."

"The sexual assault survivor does not have to engage with law enforcement in order to obtain the forensic sexual assault examination at no cost. But, where a DNA profile of the perpetrator is identified, law enforcement can make an arrest and the prosecution can bring him to justice in a court of law. SB 534 saves vital services ranging from rape crisis counseling to aggressive investigation and prosecution of sexual assault,” said DA O'Malley.

Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro) said, “I want to thank Nancy O’Malley for standing up for victims and helping to get this important bill passed and signed into law.”

“Sadly, sexual assault remains a widespread problem affecting Californians of all ages from all walks of life. This new law ensures that sexual assault victims get the assistance they deserve, regardless of their circumstances or income level,” Senator Corbett said.

The legislation, which had strong bipartisan support, takes effect January 1, 2012.


Posted on Oct 3, 2011