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Murray, Jayapal, Murkowski sponsor bill to improve care for sexual assault survivors

Sexual assault evidence collection kits are shown in this Feb. 8, 2017, photo.
Rick Bowmer
The Associated Press file
Sexual assault evidence collection kits are shown in this Feb. 8, 2017, photo.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, both Democrats from Washington, have reintroduced a bipartisan bill to improve access to health care for sexual assault survivors. It’s called the Survivors’ Access to Supportive Care Act.

Murray says survivors currently face barriers in accessing medical services.

“Hospitals do not always have appropriately trained staff or resources on site. And survivors across the country are unable to get the care they need to heal and the forensic examination critical to their ability to seek justice,” Murray said.

That was the case for Washington resident Leah Griffin, a sexual assault reform advocate and a survivor. She shared her experience trying to access care after an assault in 2014.

“I went to the closest emergency room, told them what had happened, and they shrugged their shoulders and said, ‘We don’t do rape kits here,’ ” Griffin explained. “So I left and went to a second ER hours later, but that delay in care caused problems in my case.”

Murray first introduced the bill in 2016. She was joined by Jayapal and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska, in reintroducing the measure.

Rebekah Way is an on-call news host at KNKX. She began her career in public radio as a news intern at KNKX, where she's also worked as an interim producer and reporter. Rebekah holds a life-long passion for music and also works as a professional musician and educator in the Seattle area.