What Advocates Need to Know about Emergency Contraception for Sexual Assault Victims
by Oregon Department of Human Services
Effective January 1, 2008, House Bill 2700 requires hospital emergency departments to inform and offer emergency contraception to all sexual assault victims. “A hospital providing care to a female victim of sexual assault shall:
(a) Promptly provide the victim with unbiased, medically and factually accurate written and oral information about emergency contraception;
(b) Promptly orally inform the victim of her option to be provided emergency contraception at the hospital; and
(c) If requested by the victim and if not medically contraindicated, provide the victim with emergency contraception immediately at the hospital, notwithstanding section 2, chapter 789, Oregon Laws 2003” (relating to reimbursement for medical assessments for sexual assault victims through the Sexual Assault Victims’ Emergency Medical Response Fund within the Department of Justice).”
In accordance with the new law, DHS has developed the following materials for use in hospital emergency departments. Advocates may also use these to inform victims of their rights:
- Pregnancy Protection After Sexual Assault: Emergency Contraception (patient fact sheet) – must be provided to every female victim of sexual assault of childbearing age who presents at a hospital after a rape.
- Pregnancy Protection After Sexual Assault: Your Right to Emergency Contraception (patient notification poster) – must be posted in exam areas or other appropriate locations where patients can see it.
- Emergency Contraception: A Safe and Effective Treatment Option for Sexual Assault Victims (provider fact sheet) – distribute to appropriate facility staff.
The patient fact sheet and patient notification poster are available in English, Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese and Chinese on the DHS website. This website also includes links to additional information about emergency contraception and sexual assault services.
Advocates can play a critical role in helping to ensure that hospitals comply with this law. If you know a sexual assault victim who was not offered EC information or was refused EC in the hospital (after January 1, 2008):
- Call DHS Health Care Licensure and Certification at 971-673-0540 in Portland between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. (Pacific time) and ask for the hospital complaint investigator; or
- Complete the Initial Complaint Intake Form (available in PDF here) and mail to the address below in an envelope clearly marked “Confidential”.
Summary of 2007 Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Legislation
by The Oregon Alliance to End Violence against Women
Increased Funding for Services to Domestic and Sexual Violence
Survivors: The Alliance’s goal was to increase the Oregon Domestic and Sexual Violence Services (ODSVS)Fund by $5 million dollars, to bring the fund from its current level of $2.5 million dollars to $7.5 million dollars. At the $7.5 million level, ODSVS could provide the recommended consistent core statewide level of basic emergency services to survivors indicated in a 2006 Equity Study conducted by the Department of Human Services and the Department of Justice. Although we did not achieve our stated goal, the Legislature did approve an increase of $2 million dollars per biennium, bringing the fund up to $4.5 million dollars (nearly double its current amount.) Although we have much work left to do in coming biennia, this is a great success!
Annulment, Dissolution and Separation Filing Fees for DV Clinical Programs (Legal Clinics)
HB 2961 will provide a funding stream to support law school domestic violence legal education clinics that cooperate with local domestic violence programs in providing services to victims. The bill will impose an additional $10 fee on filings of petitions and responses in annulment, dissolution, and separation cases.
The money generated will be administered by the Department of Education and distributed to qualifying law school legal clinics in proportion to the number of victims receiving services from the clinics.
Notice to DV Defendants
SB 81 requires that a defendant making a plea to a crime of domestic violence must be informed of the federal VAWA prohibitions against firearms use/possession prior to entry of the plea.
Housing Protections for Survivors
SB 561 is a bill that was proposed by the General Landlord Tenant Coalition bill, which is a coalition of landlord and tenant advocates who meet every session to negotiate changes to Oregon’s Residential Landlord Tenant Act (RLTA). This session, the bill includes several new protections for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Importantly, victims of dating violence are now covered by the domestic violence protections. Also, the bill expands upon the early lease termination protection available to victims under current law. Under the new law, victims can use a verification form from an attorney, licensed health care professional, or a victim advocate at a victims service provider as proof of eligibility for early lease termination. And the bill will toll the 90 day statute of limitations for eligibility for any time period when the abuser is in jail or lives far away. Perhaps most significantly, the bill adopts protections simil! ar to that found in the new federal VAWA housing provisions. It prohibits discrimination against victims, and allows landlords to bifurcate a lease if necessary to evict a perpetrator without evicting the victim.
Workplace Leave for Survivors (SB 946)
Emergency clause. Requires employers to provide unpaid leave for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking for the purpose of seeking legal or law enforcement help, seeking medical attention, obtaining services from a crisis center, obtaining psychological counseling, or relocating or securing a current home. The provisions apply to employers with 6 or more employees, and to employees who have met the requisite employment criteria.
Human Trafficking (SB 578)
Creates the crime of subjecting another person to involuntary servitude, and the crime of trafficking in persons. Allows the victim to seek restitution from a convicted defendant for the gross income or value to the defendant of the victim’s labor or services or the value of the victim’s labor or services computed using the Oregon minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Creates a civil cause of action for damages, and allows a victim to raise the defense of duress when the victim was forced to commit a crime.
Address Confidentiality Program Amendments (HB 2131)
Emergency Clause - Currently in effect. Makes several technical amendments to the Address Confidentiality Program in the Department of Justice. Provides protection for program participants’ county of residence and election precinct. Requires public bodies to adopt policies preventing the disclosure of actual addresses or telephone numbers to their employees.
Repeals provision disclosure of actual addresses when requested by law enforcement or public agencies without a court order. Creates a “good cause” standard for courts to apply to requests for the disclosure of actual addresses, and requires courts to address the safety and protection of the participant. Applies Program requirements to Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) licensing and registration statutes.
Establishes that jury source lists and lists of active electors may not contain information about Program participants.
FAPA - Service by Fax, Enforcement of Writs of Assistance (HB 2869)
Emergency Clause - Currently in effect. Authorizes law enforcement agencies to forcibly enter specified premises to enforce an order of assistance pertaining to custody, or to enforce a Family Abuse Prevention Act (FAPA) custody provision. Authorizes a sheriff to serve and enter into the Law Enforcement Data System a facsimile copy of a FAPA restraining order, a stalking protective order, an Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities Prevention Act restraining order, or a child abuse restraining order. The bill does many other things not directly relevant to survivors which are not summarized here.
Forensic Enhancement Bill (HB 2153)
SATF bill. Emergency Clause - Currently in effect. Eliminates the criminal statute of limitations for certain sex crimes in cases in which the perpetrator’s DNA has been collected. Applies to Rape in the first and second degree, Sodomy in the first and second degree, Unlawful sexual penetration in the first and second degree, Sexual abuse in the first and second degree.
Evidence Preservation Bill (HB 2154)
SATF Bill. Emergency Clause - Currently in effect. Eliminates the requirement for law enforcement authorization prior to collection of an Oregon State Police (OSP) SAFE Kit, so that victims of sexual assault can obtain a SAFE Kit regardless of whether they have decided to report the crime to law enforcement.
Sex Offender Treatment Management - HB 3233: Establishes a Sex Offender Treatment Board. The Sex Offender Treatment Board will develop standards and guidelines for sex offender treatment and develop a certification process for sex offender treatment providers. The Bill will also establish the titles of Certified Sex Offender Therapist, Certified Associate Sex Offender Therapist and Certified Sexual Arousal/Interest Examiner.
Emergency Contraception (HB 2700)
Requires hospitals to inform victims of sexual assault about emergency contraception and treatment options and to provide emergency contraception upon request by victim. Requires Department of Human Services (DHS) to develop informational materials for provision at hospitals. Also requires health insurance policies to cover birth control.
Crime Victims Rights (HJR 49 and HJR 50)
These measures propose the amending of the Oregon Constitution to allow crime victims a way to practically enforce their current constitutional rights as set out in Section 42 and 43 of Article I of the Oregon Constitution. Both bills require the public to consider and approve these new enforcement rights in the November 2008 primary election. Both HJRs grants a victim the right to assert a claim in a pending case or seek a writ of mandamus if no case is pending. They allow the victim to request the assistance of the prosecuting attorney to assert the victim’s rights, but allow the prosecuting attorney the discretion to assert or not assert the rights of the victim. The bills define “victim” as any person determined by the court as well as the prosecuting attorney to have suffered direct financial, psychological or physical harm. Neither of these measures will suspend a criminal or juvenile delinquency proceeding if the suspension ! would violate a right of a defendant guaranteed by the Oregon Constitution as well as the Constitution of the United States.
Changes to the Address Confidentiality Program (ACP)
Brief courtesy of Megan Delater, Oregon Address Confidentiality Program
The governor signed the ACP bill (House Bill 2131) on June 22nd. Passage of this bill helped to “clean-up” the original ACP law. The changes will have a very positive impact on ACP participants.
Changes with DMV: DMV will no longer require ACP participants to provide their residential address or to enroll in the DMV’s protected address program. An ACP participant will need to provide their ACP authorization card at a DMV field office to use the ACP substitute address in all DMV records, which includes: vehicle registration, vehicle title, Oregon driver’s licenses and ID cards. The DMV will charge $21.00 to re-issue a driver’s license or ID card with the ACP address appearing on it.
Safety planning note: Now that ACP participants will not have their residential address on their driver’s license or ID card their safety plan may need to be re-evaluated. If something tragic happens, like a
major motor vehicle accident, the police would not have access to the participant’s home address in order to contact next of kin. Therefore, ACP participants should consider carrying the name and contact
information of the person they want to be notified in the event of an emergency.
Changes to voter’s registration: Effective June 1, 2008, State Elections Division will no longer provide and ACP participant’s county or voting precinct in any list available to the public. There is a delay on this change becoming effective because State Elections Division will have to make significant changes to the registered voter database.
Workplace Leave for Victims of Violence
Signed by the Governor May 25, 2007; Effective Date May 25th, 2007
SB 946 will help provide working victims of domestic or sexual violence to take steps to get safe without losing their jobs.
Domestic and sexual violence are serious public health and safety issues in Oregon. Without economic resources, victims cannot achieve safety for themselves and their children. The bill is a complement to ORS 659A.190 et seq. (2001), which allows victims of certain crimes to take time off to attend criminal proceedings. SB 946 provides similar relief for victims who need to access civil court and other safety protections.
SB 946 allows victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking to take reasonable, unpaid time off from work to pursue protective orders or to redress the impact of violence.
To be covered by the law, an employee must work for more than 25 hours a week for at least 180 days before taking leave.
The bill covers employers with 6 or more employees during 20 or more work weeks a year.
Leave is allowed for the following authorized purposes:
- Seeking legal or law enforcement help;
- Seeking medical attention;
- Obtaining services from a crisis center;
- Obtaining psychological counseling;
- Relocating, or securing a current home.
A covered employee is eligible for relief if she or he:
- Is a victim, or the parent or guardian of a victim, of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
- Provides advance notice of leave when feasible.
If requested by the employer, the employee must provide certification of eligibility for relief. Certification can be:
- A copy of a police report;
- A copy of a protective order or other court evidence;
- Documentation from an attorney, law enforcement officer, licensed health care or mental health professional; clergy member, or victim service provider.
The confidentiality of employees must be protected:
- Any documents or records kept by an employer related to the leave must be kept confidential.
- The fact that an employee has requested leave must be kept confidential.
The amount of leave requested must be reasonable. Employers may limit leave, if leave would create an undue hardship.
This bill is good public policy:
- It will help protect employees who are victims by removing barriers to safety.
- It will help employers by reducing absenteeism, health care and other costs.
- It will help co-workers by reducing the likelihood of violence at work.
Oregon joins 13 other jurisdictions in providing this protection.
Download a pamphlet from the Oregon Law Center on employment leave laws for victims here.