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Sexual Assault Victims Shielded From Arrest Under New Law

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A new law will protect victims of sexual abuse from potential arrest while reporting the crime.

Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a law requiring an officer to request a waiver of extradition if the person reporting the assault has an outstanding warrant, as long as that warrant isn’t for a violent offense or parole violation.

Previously, a victim would face arrest when reporting an assault, even if it was for a non-violent offense or unpaid fine.

Carol Merna, CEO of the Center for Prevention of Abuse in Peoria, said she’s glad lawmakers took this step.

“It takes a great dedication to survivors and to understanding the trauma they receive to be able to recognize that this might be an issue,” she said.

Merna said it could help more perpetrators of sexual violence be brought to justice.

“This bill allows survivors to come forward without fear, communicate with peace officers or law enforcement, and work to have a forensic exam or a rape kit that actually can move forward to try to find the perpetrator of the crime,” she said.

The bill goes into effect January 1st.