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Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is a crime of power and control. The term sexual assault refers to sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent of the victim. Some forms of sexual assault include:

What is sexual assault?

What is rape?

Rape is a form of sexual assault, but not all sexual assault is rape. The term rape is often used as a legal definition to specifically include sexual penetration without consent. For its Uniform Crime Reports, the FBI defines rape as “penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with anybody part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” To see how your state legally defines rape and other forms of sexual assault, visit RAINN's State Law Database.

As a survivor of Sexual Assault you have the right to:

  • Be treated with dignity and respect at all times.

  • Be treated with sensitivity by medical and legal personnel.

  • Have your rape crisis counselor/advocate and a support person of your choosing present during the sexual assault evidentiary exam or physical exam [Penal Code 264.2].

  • Ask questions of the police, sexual assault forensic examiner, and attorneys.

  • Have a rape crisis counselor/advocate present with you for any interviews by law enforcement authorities, district attorneys, or defense attorneys [Penal Code 679.04].

  • Be kept informed on the status of your case.

  • Maintain confidentiality with the rape crisis counselor/advocate Penal [Code 1035-1036.2].

  • Change or add to your initial statement to law enforcement as you start to recall details more clearly.

  • Decline an interview with law enforcement or reschedule for a time when you will be better able to participate.

  • Request from law enforcement, information regarding whether a DNA profile was obtained from the testing of rape kit evidence, or other crime scene evidence from your case. You are also entitled to know whether that information was entered into DNA data banks. (Sexual Assault Victim’s DNA Bill of Rights. Penal Code 680).

  • Decline an interview with defense attorneys and their investigators.

  • Decline a phone interview.

  • Not participate in the criminal justice process.

  • Be compensated through the Victim Compensation Program if you qualify and cooperate with law enforcement.

  • Have your rape crisis advocate accompany you during court appearance [Penal Code 868.5]

  • Remain anonymous during criminal proceedings.

  • Keep your face and/or name from being used in the media.

  • Withdraw your testimony at any time.

  • Request the status of DNA collected.

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