Your Rights

Rights of Rape Victims

Every victim of sexual assault should have the right:

To be treated with dignity and respect by institutional and legal personnel

To have as much credibility as a victim of any other crime

To be considered a victim of rape when any unwanted act of sex is forced on her/him through any type of coercion, violent or otherwise

To be asked only those questions that are relevant to a court case or medical treatment

To report or not report the rape to the police

To receive medical and mental health treatment, or participate in legal procedures only after giving her/his informed consent (information should include all options)

To be treated in a manner that does not usurp control from the victim, but which enables her/him to determine her/his needs and how to meet them

To not be exposed to prejudice against race, age, class, lifestyle or occupation

To have access to support persons, such as advocates, outside of the institutions

To have access to peer counseling

To be provided with information about her/his rights

To have the best possible collection of evidence for court

To not be asked questions about prior sexual experience

To have common reactions to rape such as sleeplessness, nightmares, hostility towards men, anxiety, fear etc. and no be considered pathological behavior

To have access to a secure living situation or other measures that might help to allay fears of future assault

To be assured strict confidentiality

To be considered a victim of rape regardless of the assailant’s relationship to the victim, such as the victim’s spouse

To have deterred her/his assailant by any means necessary. No victim should be criminally prosecuted for harming the assailant during or within a reasonable period of time after the rape; or for harming the assailant in the process of preventing an attempted rape

To receive medical treatment without parental consent if she/he is a minor

To have access to legal advice

To have a preliminary hearing in each case when an arrest has been made

To have the case prosecuted by criminal justice personnel who support if the case goes to court

To be advised of the possibility of a civil suit

-Rape Crisis Center, Washington DC 1976