Noting the increase in domestic violence in our culture and the necessity to assure the rights and protection of victims of such acts, Senate President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee will offer two important pieces of legislation in the upcoming legislative session to address victims’ concerns.
SB 894 will allow a rape victim to have immediate access to medical care without pursuing legal charges against her attacker. At this time, a nurse or other medical professional is required to contact local law enforcement at the time a victim seeks medical attention. Often, in the aftermath of an attack, rape victims are too traumatized to seek medical assistance, knowing their case will be immediately reported to law enforcement. Under the provisions of SB 894, a victim can seek help, and pursue legal recourse at a less stressful time in subsequent hours or days.
“Victims, traumatized by a sexual attack and the specter of legal action, often delay or forego medical treatment, for fear of the legal consequences,” said Pro Tem Coffee. “This legislation will allow those victims of the most personal violence imaginable the security of seeking help immediately, and pursuing legal action at a time when they are under less pressure.
“This is a reasonable, timely reform for victim’s rights,” Coffee said.
“Senate Bill 894 is very important to the safety of victims and provides them better access to medical treatment,” said Tonya Lee, a representative of the Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. “In addition, this will bring Oklahoma into compliance with the federal Violence Against Women Act.”
Coffee will also offer SB 932, allowing those who have sought protection from an emergency Victim’s Protective Order to obtain an emergency concealed carry license for their protection. These one time licenses will be subject to the normal OSBI background check, will last 180 days.
The licensee will be required to attend and pass the concealed carry safety class as with any concealed carry applicant, as quickly as is reasonably possible.
“Victims seeking protection from their attackers often feel threatened and insecure even with a VPO on file,” said Coffee. “This will give them more of a measure of security as the legal process plays out.”