SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed two bills aimed at making medical and legal care for victims of sexual assault more accessible.
HB5441 amends Illinois Criminal Code to specify that someone is unable to give consent when intoxicated — even when the accused assaulter did not provide the substance that intoxicated them.
Kaylyn Ahn,18, was sexually assaulted while inebriated and was told the case would likely not be prosecuted for that reason.
She brought the issue to State Rep. Mark Walker, and testified in front of legislators in Springfield in support of the bill.
"I am telling my story because my pain is not an individual loss but a systemic failure of a legal system that has time and again failed to protect us," said Ahn. "No matter what you were wearing, what you were drinking, or whether you were in a relationship with them, rape is never your fault. In signing this bill, we are listening to the power of survivors."
The second bill, SB3023, expands where survivors can access treatment and for how long. It also requires Federally Qualified Health Centers to provide medical forensic services by trained professionals.
The legislation will allow survivors to access care for 180 days — doubling the time window and extending access to those unable to receive care in the first few months after an incident.
The bill also allows victims to decline to bill their health insurance provider for the cost of care if they are not the primary policyholder. State officials say this will allow those seeking treatment after abuse from partners or family members who share in their policy to maintain confidentiality.
"Survivors of sexual assault deserve a system that that supports them and provides them with justice and support – not works against them," said State Sen. Melinda Bush. "By addressing loopholes in current law and providing survivors with more access to care, we are giving them greater means to cope and grieve."