03042020CM0531SPRINGFIELD – Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) continues to support the privacy of sexual assault survivors, passing legislation out of the Senate that makes personal details more difficult to access for the press and the public. 

“Survivors of sexual assault should be the only ones allowed to tell their stories,” Lightford said. “Their privacy should come first, and only they know how best to overcome their trauma.” 

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 to acquire the information in the first place.

“Sexual assault or harassment is an experience many people will not want to relive,” Lightford said. “We must allow them to control their own healing journeys, and this legislation allows them to do that.”

Senate Bill 2339 and 2340 passed the Senate floor and will head to the House for further consideration.