Key provisions of Survivors’ Access to Supportive Care Act (SASCA)—first introduced by Sen. Murray in 2016—included in reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
Senator Murray: “The story Leah bravely shared with me years ago when we started this fight was all too common across our country …. I was appalled when I heard about this and determined to fix it, because treating survivors of sexual assault and ensuring they can seek justice should be a priority in our health system, not an afterthought.”
***WATCH: PRESS CONFERENCE WITH SENATOR MURRAY, REP. JAYAPAL, LEAH GRIFFIN***
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA-07) joined Leah Griffin, a Washington state constituent and survivor advocate, to highlight how key provisions of the Survivors’ Access to Supportive Care Act (SASCA) signed into law this week as part of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) will help survivors across the country get the sexual assault forensic examinations they need—and pursue justice.
Senator Murray first introduced SASCA in 2016 after Griffin shared her personal story of surviving a sexual assault and then getting turned away from a hospital when it was unable to administer a rape kit—which contributed to prosecutors’ decision to not file criminal charges.
“The story Leah bravely shared with me years ago when we started this fight was all too common across our country: survivors go to the hospital to get care, they’re turned away because there’s no one trained or there’s not enough capacity, and they’re not only denied care during a deeply traumatic experience but lose the ability to seek justice,” said Senator Murray. “I was appalled when I heard about this and determined to fix it, because treating survivors of sexual assault and ensuring they can seek justice should be a priority in our health system, not an afterthought. I’m so grateful to Leah for making sure she, and so many survivors, were heard in the bill President Biden is signing into law this week, and I’ll never stop fighting to make sure the people of Washington state have a voice in the other Washington.”
“This bill was inspired by Leah Griffin, who bravely shared her struggle to get access to the health care services she needed, and will benefit countless survivors during an extremely difficult and vulnerable moment in their lives. We are so incredibly thankful to Leah for being willing to share such a personal story and for putting a national spotlight on an issue that impacts so many across this country. Her work highlighted an unacceptable gap in our medical resources and care, one that existed even before the pandemic exacerbated the need for supportive health services,” said Congresswoman Jayapal. “Leah’s story has been invaluable in addressing the ability to get justice and care for survivors. I’m so grateful for the hard work of Senator Murray and the years of advocacy from activists like Leah. SASCA will increase access to resources while finally establishing national standards of care. I could not be more thrilled that we were able to get this across the finish line.”
“I’m so grateful that Senator Murray and Representative Jayapal listened to my story, took action, and stood by me for years as we worked hard for survivors,” said Griffin. “It’s such a relief to know that we have passed a bill that will prevent suffering, and provide care for survivors all over the country.”
During the event, Senator Murray, Congresswoman Jayapal, and Griffin recounted the more than seven years of hard work that culminated in the passage of SASCA’s core provisions—which will help develop national standards of care for survivors of sexual assault, strengthen the sexual assault examiner workforce, and expand access to sexual assault forensic examination services.