lightford 031321SPRINGFIELD – Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) passed two measures out of the Senate Criminal Law Committee Tuesday that would help preserve the privacy of survivors of sexual assault.

“Sexual assault survivors deserve their privacy,” Lightford said. “They have experienced intense trauma, and it’s absolutely their right to determine whom they share their stories with.”

Senate Bill 2339 clarifies that anyone seeking to inspect or copy court records relating to a child survivor of sexual crimes must get a court order, with reasonable exceptions for people who play a legitimate role in the judicial process. The legislation, which is supported by the circuit court of Cook County, closes a loophole that prevents them from excluding identities when releasing certain court records.

SB 2340 provides similar protections for adult survivors.

Lightford introduced both pieces of legislation after a news agency disclosed information about survivors of sexual assault that it had acquired during an investigation last fall. While the private information of child survivors was already protected under a separate law, Lightford’s legislation extends protections to adult survivors, in addition to closing the loophole that allowed the news agency that acquired the information in the first place.

“Whether you’re a child or adult, surviving a sexual crime is an incredibly difficult experience,” Lightford said. “While some people find healing in sharing their stories, others heal by putting the trauma behind them. They deserve the right to make that choice themselves – not have a television station or newspaper make it for them.”

Both measures now go to the Senate floor for further consideration.