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Public Policy

The 2018 Hawaii State Legislative Session

During the 2018 legislative session, the Sex Abuse Treatment Center (SATC) tracked over one hundred bills and resolutions relating directly or indirectly to sexual violence in a number of areas of the law, including Hawai‘i’s penal code, insurance code, public safety, family courts, and victims’ rights.

Hawai‘i’s lawmakers passed three measures this session that are particularly significant for survivors of sexual violence.

Act 110 (House Bill 1489)

prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, including gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation, in any state educational program or activity, or in any educational program or activity that receives state financial assistance, and requires the Legislative Reference Bureau to study how other jurisdictions oversee Title IX enforcement.

Act 113 (House Bill 2131)

creates a Hawai‘i Sexual Assault Response and Training Program (HSART) to address the manner in which sexual assault evidence collection kits are processed and tracked, and to ensure that victims of sexual assault are informed of their rights under the law.

Act 98 (Senate Bill 2719)

extends the period of time during which a victim of sexual abuse may bring an otherwise time-barred civil action against the victim’s abuser or an entity with a duty of care.

These measures contribute substantively to improve our state’s response to sexual violence, by allowing the development and implementation of additional resources to better help survivors, their families, and their communities throughout the islands, and by updating the laws of our state to better reflect a current understanding of sexual violence and how it should be addressed.

A number of other measures related to sexual violence that SATC supported and that passed are also noteworthy.  These include Act 111 (Senate Bill 2340) which ensures certain benefits under the Affordable Care Act relevant to survivors of sexual assault are preserved under Hawai‘i law and Act 115 (Senate Bill 2346) which established an Address Confidentiality Program in the Department of the Attorney General.

If you would like additional information regarding this legislative session or the SATC's public policy advocacy, please contact us at 808-535-7600 or via our website contact form.