policy

At the Alliance, we help to create policy and support laws, which are crucial in combatting sexual assault in New York City. Over the years, more policy initiatives have emerged as the New York State government has taken steps to further decrease sexual violence in this state. Learn about present and future policy initiative in New York to end sexual assault.

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Sexual Assault Policy & Activism Milestones Timeline

Explore the milestone policies and actions that have been put into action to combat the sexual violence and provide help to sexual assault survivors. These Alliance resources will explain the framework of New York State’s legal stance on the issue and provide you with general information on sexual assault.

Title IX

“…prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex for all educational programs or activities that receive funding from the federal government.” – United States Department of Justice

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1972

New York City's First Rape Crisis Centers

NYC’s first rape crisis program started providing assistance to survivors in 1974, the same year the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office set up the first Sex Crimes Unit in the United States.

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1974

New York State Passage of the Rape Shield Law

Until 1975, the victim’s sexual history was deemed relevant to the case-. The rape shield law prevented this line of questioning in criminal court.

First March That Led to Take Back the Night

“Some of our early events include a public protest in San Francisco against pornography in 1973 and a public march held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in October 1975, after the murder of microbiologist Susan Alexander Speeth, who was stabbed to death while walking home alone.” – Take Back the Night Foundation

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1975

First Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program

A minority of women were receiving medical treatment after a sexual assault and it wasn’t until 1976 that first SANE program was established in the U.S.

x close
1976

Strict New State Rape Laws

Until 1982, a victim had to prove her “earnest resistance to her attacker” and until 1984, a woman could not be raped by her husband.

New York State had some of the strictest rape laws; prosecutors had to present some form of proof, in addition to the victim’s testimony, for every element of the rape.

x close
1982

Victims of Crime Act

“The Crime Victims Fund was created by Congress in 1984 to provide grants to state and local programs that assist victims of crime. Now, Rape crisis centers rely on VOCA funds to provide direct services like crisis intervention, counseling, and court accompaniment to victims of sexual assault.” – United States Department of Justice

x close
1984

Clery Act

The Jeanne Clery Act was passed in 1990 requiring all colleges and universities who receive federal funding to share information about crime on campus and their efforts to improve campus safety.

x close
1990

"Trauma and Recovery"

Judith Herman’s ground breaking book, “Trauma and Recovery” was published

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1992

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) becomes law providing 1.6 billion dollars for 6 years to provide services for victims of rape and domestic violence. The Act is inclusive of services for women of color, immigrant women and other underserved populations.”

Civil Practice Law and Rule Section 4510

New York State enacted statute that protects victim contact with a certified rape crisis counselor as confidential.

x close
1994

New York State Penal Law 130 Sexual Assault Reform Act

In 2001, the Sexual Assault Reform Act was passed which rewrote rape law including the expansion the definition of force to include a no-means-no standard of coercion.

x close
2001

New York Police Department Special Victims Division

In 2003, the NYPD created the Special Victims Division.

x close
2003

Sexual Assault Services Program

“The Sexual Assault Services Program (SASP), administered by the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) in the U.S. Department of Justice, was authorized in 2005 through the Violence Against Women Act as the first federal funding stream dedicated to the provision of direct services to victims of sexual violence.” – United States Department of Justice 

New York State Forensic Rape Examination (FRE) Direct Reimbursement Program

This statute provides for direct reimbursement to hospitals for sexual assault forensic exams so that a victims do not have to pay or use their insurance coverage.

x close
2005

Title IX Sexual Assault Update/ Dear College Letter to Universities From the United States Department of Justice

“The Department of Education issued a policy guidance which made clear that Title IX’s protections against sexual harassment and sexual violence apply to all students.

x close
2011

Enough is Enough

“The new “Enough is Enough” legislation requires all colleges to adopt a set of comprehensive procedures and guidelines, including a uniform definition of affirmative consent, a statewide amnesty policy, and expanded access to law enforcement. With this law, we will better protect all of New York’s college students from rape and sexual assault.” – NY.Gov

Increase in Funding

After state funds for sexual assault services slowly decreased over many years, in 2015, the New York State Legislature decided to act to preserve and expand sexual assault programs that were handling increasing caseloads with diminished resources. In 2016, the Governor’s Office supported this increase by adding 4.6 million to the state budget for intervention and prevention of sexual violence.

x close
2015
1972

Title IX

“…prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex for all educational programs or activities that receive funding from the federal government.” – United States Department of Justice

1974

New York City's First Rape Crisis Centers

NYC’s first rape crisis program started providing assistance to survivors in 1974, the same year the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office set up the first Sex Crimes Unit in the United States.

1975

New York State Passage of the Rape Shield Law

Until 1975, the victim’s sexual history was deemed relevant to the case-. The rape shield law prevented this line of questioning in criminal court.

First March That Led to Take Back the Night

“Some of our early events include a public protest in San Francisco against pornography in 1973 and a public march held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in October 1975, after the murder of microbiologist Susan Alexander Speeth, who was stabbed to death while walking home alone.” – Take Back the Night Foundation

1976

First Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program

A minority of women were receiving medical treatment after a sexual assault and it wasn’t until 1976 that first SANE program was established in the U.S.

1982

Strict New State Rape Laws

Until 1982, a victim had to prove her “earnest resistance to her attacker” and until 1984, a woman could not be raped by her husband.

New York State had some of the strictest rape laws; prosecutors had to present some form of proof, in addition to the victim’s testimony, for every element of the rape.

1984

Victims of Crime Act

“The Crime Victims Fund was created by Congress in 1984 to provide grants to state and local programs that assist victims of crime. Now, Rape crisis centers rely on VOCA funds to provide direct services like crisis intervention, counseling, and court accompaniment to victims of sexual assault.” – United States Department of Justice

1990

Clery Act

The Jeanne Clery Act was passed in 1990 requiring all colleges and universities who receive federal funding to share information about crime on campus and their efforts to improve campus safety.

1992

"Trauma and Recovery"

Judith Herman’s ground breaking book, “Trauma and Recovery” was published

1994

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) becomes law providing 1.6 billion dollars for 6 years to provide services for victims of rape and domestic violence. The Act is inclusive of services for women of color, immigrant women and other underserved populations.”

Civil Practice Law and Rule Section 4510

New York State enacted statute that protects victim contact with a certified rape crisis counselor as confidential.

2001

New York State Penal Law 130 Sexual Assault Reform Act

In 2001, the Sexual Assault Reform Act was passed which rewrote rape law including the expansion the definition of force to include a no-means-no standard of coercion.

2003

New York Police Department Special Victims Division

In 2003, the NYPD created the Special Victims Division.

2005

Sexual Assault Services Program

“The Sexual Assault Services Program (SASP), administered by the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) in the U.S. Department of Justice, was authorized in 2005 through the Violence Against Women Act as the first federal funding stream dedicated to the provision of direct services to victims of sexual violence.” – United States Department of Justice 

New York State Forensic Rape Examination (FRE) Direct Reimbursement Program

This statute provides for direct reimbursement to hospitals for sexual assault forensic exams so that a victims do not have to pay or use their insurance coverage.

2011

Title IX Sexual Assault Update/ Dear College Letter to Universities From the United States Department of Justice

“The Department of Education issued a policy guidance which made clear that Title IX’s protections against sexual harassment and sexual violence apply to all students.

2015

Enough is Enough

“The new “Enough is Enough” legislation requires all colleges to adopt a set of comprehensive procedures and guidelines, including a uniform definition of affirmative consent, a statewide amnesty policy, and expanded access to law enforcement. With this law, we will better protect all of New York’s college students from rape and sexual assault.” – NY.Gov

Increase in Funding

After state funds for sexual assault services slowly decreased over many years, in 2015, the New York State Legislature decided to act to preserve and expand sexual assault programs that were handling increasing caseloads with diminished resources. In 2016, the Governor’s Office supported this increase by adding 4.6 million to the state budget for intervention and prevention of sexual violence.

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