Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Governor's Bill No. 17

February Session, 2018

 

LCO No. 342

 

*00342__________*

Referred to Committee on PUBLIC SAFETY AND SECURITY

 

Introduced by:

 

SEN. LOONEY, 11th Dist.

SEN. DUFF, 25th Dist.

REP. ARESIMOWICZ, 30th Dist.

REP. RITTER M., 1st Dist.

 

AN ACT PROMOTING FAIRNESS IN ACCESS TO INFORMATION, SUPPORT AND JUSTICE FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT VICTIMS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 19a-112a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2018):

(a) There is created a Commission on the Standardization of the Collection of Evidence in Sexual Assault Investigations composed of fourteen members as follows: The Chief State's Attorney or a designee; the executive director of the Commission on Women, Children and Seniors or a designee; the Commissioner of Children and Families or a designee; one member from the Division of State Police and one member from the Division of Scientific Services appointed by the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection; one member from Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services, Inc. appointed by its board of directors; one member from the Connecticut Hospital Association appointed by the president of the association; one emergency physician appointed by the president of the Connecticut College of Emergency Physicians; one obstetrician-gynecologist and one pediatrician appointed by the president of the Connecticut State Medical Society; one nurse appointed by the president of the Connecticut Nurses' Association; one emergency nurse appointed by the president of the Emergency Nurses' Association of Connecticut; one police chief appointed by the president of the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association; and one member of the Office of Victim Services within the Judicial Department. The Chief State's Attorney or a designee shall be chairman of the commission. The commission shall be within the Division of Criminal Justice for administrative purposes only.

(b) (1) For the purposes of this section, "protocol" means the state of Connecticut Technical Guidelines for Health Care Response to Victims of Sexual Assault, including the Interim Sexual Assault Toxicology Screen Protocol, as revised from time to time and as incorporated in regulations adopted in accordance with subdivision (2) of this subsection, pertaining to the collection of evidence in any sexual assault investigation.

(2) The commission shall recommend the protocol to the Chief State's Attorney for adoption as regulations in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54. Such protocol shall include nonoccupational post-exposure prophylaxis for human immunodeficiency virus (nPEP), as recommended by the National Centers for Disease Control. The commission shall annually review the protocol and may annually recommend changes to the protocol for adoption as regulations.

(c) (1) The commission shall design a sexual assault evidence collection kit and may annually recommend changes in the kit to the Chief State's Attorney. Each kit shall include instructions on the proper use of the kit, standardized reporting forms, standardized tests which shall be performed if the victim so consents and standardized receptacles for the collection and preservation of evidence and shall be affixed with a barcode for tracking by the Division of Scientific Services within the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection. The commission shall provide the kits to all health care facilities in the state at which evidence collection examinations are performed at no cost to such health care facilities.

(2) Not later than October 1, 2018, the commission shall develop guidelines for (A) the use by health care facilities of kit-tracking software to record (i) when a sexual assault kit is used, and (ii) when and to which law enforcement agency the kit is transferred, (B) the use by the Division of Scientific Services within the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection of such software to record the receipt of each kit submitted by a law enforcement agency to the division, and (C) training for employees of such facilities and the division who are subject to the guidelines, including instruction on the use of such kit-tracking software.

(3) For purposes of this section, "law enforcement agency" means the Division of State Police within the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection or any municipal police department.

(d) Each health care facility in the state which provides for the collection of sexual assault evidence shall follow the protocol as described in subsection (b) of this section, including, but not limited to, contacting a sexual assault counselor, as defined in section 52-146k, upon the arrival of the victim at the facility, and, with the consent of the victim, shall collect sexual assault evidence. After the collection of any evidence, the health care facility shall contact a [police department] law enforcement agency to receive the evidence. Not later than ten days after the collection of the evidence, the [police department] law enforcement agency shall transfer the evidence, in a manner that maintains the integrity of the evidence, to the Division of Scientific Services within the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection or the Federal Bureau of Investigation laboratory. If the evidence is transferred to the division, the division shall analyze the evidence not later than sixty days after the collection of the evidence or, if the victim chose to remain anonymous and not report the sexual assault to the [police department] law enforcement agency at the time of collection, shall hold the evidence for at least five years after the collection of the evidence. If a victim reports the sexual assault to the [police department] law enforcement agency after the collection of the evidence, such [police department] law enforcement agency shall notify the division that a report has been filed not later than five days after filing such report and the division shall analyze the evidence not later than sixty days after receiving such notification. The division shall hold any evidence received and analyzed pursuant to this subsection until the conclusion of any criminal proceedings. The failure of a [police department] law enforcement agency to transfer the evidence not later than ten days after the collection of the evidence, or the division to analyze the evidence not later than sixty days after the collection of the evidence or after receiving a notification from a [police department] law enforcement agency, shall not affect the admissibility of the evidence in any suit, action or proceeding if the evidence is otherwise admissible.

(e) (1) No costs incurred by a health care facility for the examination of a victim of sexual assault, when such examination is performed for the purpose of gathering evidence as prescribed in the protocol, including the costs of testing for pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases and the costs of prophylactic treatment as provided in the protocol, and no costs incurred for a medical forensic assessment interview conducted by a health care facility or provider or by an examiner working in conjunction with a multidisciplinary team established pursuant to section 17a-106a or with a child advocacy center, shall be charged directly or indirectly to such victim. Any such costs shall be charged to the Forensic Sex Evidence Exams account in the Judicial Department.

(2) No costs incurred by a health care facility for any toxicology screening of a victim of sexual assault, when such screening is performed as prescribed in the protocol, shall be charged directly or indirectly to such victim. Any such costs shall be charged to the Division of Scientific Services within the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.

(f) The commission shall advise the Chief State's Attorney on the establishment of a mandatory training program for health care facility staff regarding the implementation of the regulations, the use of the evidence collection kit and procedures for handling evidence.

(g) The commission shall advise the Chief State's Attorney not later than July 1, 1997, on the development of a sexual assault examiner program and annually thereafter on the implementation and effectiveness of such program.

(h) On or before October 1, 2018, the commission shall develop policies and procedures to ensure victims have access to information regarding the victim's kit, including, but not limited to, information relating to when the kit was tested, whether DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) obtained from the testing of the kit was entered into the DNA data bank established under section 54-102j, a national DNA data bank or any other data bank of another state, and if so, whether the sample derived from the kit satisfactorily matches a profile in any such DNA data bank.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

July 1, 2018

19a-112a

Statement of Purpose:

To implement the Governor's budget recommendations.

[Proposed deletions are enclosed in brackets. Proposed additions are indicated by underline, except that when the entire text of a bill or resolution or a section of a bill or resolution is new, it is not underlined.]