Presence of Victim Advocate During Sexual Assault Exam Summary of State Laws

Following a sexual assault report, victims are propelled into the criminal justice system and faced with an array of strangers, each with his or her own role in the response, investigation, or prosecution of the crime. Victims are often interviewed by multiple people, including police officers, doctors, nurses, social workers, and prosecutors. To help victims cope with these challenges, some state legislatures have passed laws providing them with the right to have a victim advocate or personal representative present during such interviews to offer support. This article focuses specifically on the victim’s right to have an advocate present during a medical forensic exam.