Anti violence and abuse bills become law

TOPEKA, Kan. – On July 1, 2017, new domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking-related laws came into effect for Kansas.

Many of these laws have been enacted in other states offering the same or similar protections. One example is the Protection from Stalking or Sexual Assault Act amendment, which adds sexual assault to the definition of abuse and more clearly defines sexual assault for the purpose of getting a protection order. Sexual assault will now be defined as “engaging in any sexual contact or attempted sexual contact with another person without consent or when such person is incapable of giving consent.” Thirty-two states currently offer a protection order for a sexual assault victim, Kansas being the newest addition to this growing list.

“We are really excited this legislature has picked up these issues as being critical safety issues for victims and survivors,” said Joyce Grover, executive director of Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence. “They will provide safety all over the state for years to come.”

Other amendment topics include strangulation, discussion of fatalities in closed meetings, mental health compensation, consideration of abuse in custody decisions, parental notification after assault, and infectious disease testing of offenders.

A list of the changes effective on July 1, 2017:

  • Senate Bill (SB) 101: The Protection from Abuse Act now has sexual assault added to the definition of “abuse.” The Protection from Stalking Act becomes the Protection from Stalking or Sexual Assault Act and clearly defines sexual assault for the purpose of getting a protection order as, “engaging in any sexual contact or attempted sexual contact with another person without consent or when such person is incapable of giving consent.”
  • House Bill (HB) 2033 inserted into SB 101: Kansas Crime Victims Compensation now allows sexual assault victims to seek crime victim compensation for mental health counseling within two years of being notified of the identification of a suspect. This reflects the state’s work on untested and unsubmitted sexual assault evidence collection kits.
  • HB 2176 inserted into SB 101: Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Examinations and Parental Notification adds exceptions to parental notification. When a hospital or medical facility has information that parent or guardian of a minor (who receives a sexual assault evidence collection examination) is the subject of a related criminal investigation or the medical professional, after consulting with law enforcement, reasonably believes the minor will be harmed if notification is given, notification to the parent or guardian is not required. This provides an additional layer of protection for minors who may be sexually assaulted by a parent or guardian.
  • HB 2234 inserted into SB 101: Infectious disease testing of certain offenders is now required to occur not later than 48 hours after the alleged offender appears before a magistrate. The court shall also order the arrested person to submit to follow-up tests for infectious diseases as may be medically appropriate.
  • SB 112: HB 2034 inserted into SB 112: Strangulation of an intimate partner is now a felony, signaling the critical need to recognize the lethality of this abuse. Strangulation stops the flow of blood to and from the brain, inhibits normal breathing and can result in immediate death.
  • HB 2071 inserted into SB 112: Now, in a domestic battery case if presented with protective order information, courts will be required to consider current or prior protective orders when sentences are issued.
  • SB 124: In the past, judges have been able to consider evidence of emotional and physical spousal abuse when making custody decisions. This update provides a much clearer definition of domestic abuse, which now includes patterns of abusive behavior or threats used to gain control or domination and any act of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.
  • HB 2128 inserted into HB 2301: The Kansas Open Meeting Act was amended to allow the Governor’s Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board to discuss fatalities in closed meetings.

Information thanks to SOS, Emporia.


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