Newsroom

The Survivors’ Access to Supportive Care Act (SASCA) calls for national standards of care for survivors of sexual assault and tackle barriers they face when seeking care

A longtime champion for women and improving health care, Senator Murray first introduced the legislation in 2016 after meeting Seattle survivor Leah Griffin

Senator Murray reintroduced the legislation earlier this year with more co-sponsors than ever before, including bipartisan support from Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

2016 GAO report requested by Senator Murray found major barriers for survivors seeking care after sexual assault

Senator Murray on SASCA: “I won’t stop fighting to get this done—for sexual assault survivors everywhere—and I’m glad to see a national spotlight shined on this important legislation”

***WATCH VIDEO OF THE NEWS REPORT HERE***

Washington, D.C. – As momentum builds in Washington state and around the country to address the long-standing issues of sexual assault and violence, today legislation crafted by U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA, the top Democrat on the Senate health committee, was featured in a new national report highlighting the concerning gaps in care many survivors of sexual assault experience when trying to access health care and seek justice after being attacked, and calling attention to federal efforts, like Senator Murray’s “Survivors Access to Supportive Care Act” or SASCA, that would make critical investments in efforts to improve and strengthen resources for sexual assault survivors to help ensure they are able to get appropriate, compassionate care. Senator Murray first introduced SASCA in 2016, after a Seattle constituent, Leah Griffin, shared her personal story of surviving a sexual assault and then struggling to get access to the health care services she need in order to seek justice—including a forensic examination. Leah and her story were also featured in the CBS News report.

“When a survivor of sexual assault goes to a hospital, they deserve respect, compassion, and a commitment to helping them get justice. But in too many areas of our country we know that’s not always the case, and that too many survivors don’t have access to the medical professionals or resources they need to heal and seek justice when they need them most. When I met Leah and heard her story—and that there were so many others like hers across the nation—I knew this was wrong and that Congress must do more to ensure survivors are able to get the care that meets their needs and helps them hold their perpetrators accountable,” said Senator Murray on the report. “That’s why I introduced SASCA and—thanks to Leah—am glad we’ve been able to build more support than ever before, including adding co-sponsors from across the aisle in both the Senate and House. I won’t stop fighting to get this done—for sexual assault survivors everywhere—and I’m glad to see a national spotlight shined on this important legislation.”

SASCA would direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish a national training and continuing education pilot program to expand access to health care for survivors of sexual assault and develop federal standards around examinations and treatment. It would also establish a pilot grant program to expand medical forensic exam training and services to new providers to increase access, and create a national sexual assault taskforce to better understand sexual assault health care services and treatment and address survivors’ needs. To address the current lack of data on the availability of sexual assault nurse examinations (SANE) and sexual assault forensic examinations (SAFE), SASCA would provide for state-level review of current practices to better understand deficits in care, develop best practices, and improve public awareness of forensic examinations. SASCA would also require hospitals to report on SAFE/SANE training and access to these vital examinations.

Full video of the CBS News Report, including Senator Murray’s interview, available HERE.

For text of the bill, visit HERE.

For more information about the legislation, visit HERE.