The Illinois House Human Services Committee approved legislation sponsored by State Representative Mike Unes (R-East Peoria) to improve access to emergency room treatment for pediatric sexual assault victims. According to Rep. Unes, access to pediatric sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs) and physicians is extremely limited—particularly in downstate rural areas–and this bill seeks to address that.
House Bill 5245 sponsored by State Rep. Mike Unes, will ensure that sexual assault victims are able to receive timely care from health care professionals who specialize in providing treatment for this population of victims.
Rep Unes added, “Since day one, my goal has been to ensure that this most vulnerable population of victims that has been through unthinkable trauma, may obtain the care they need from the most qualified medical professionals. This bill provides a voice to the voiceless, and confidence to their loved ones.”
Throughout this process, Rep. Unes has worked closely with hospitals, law enforcement entities, the Attorney General’s office, and local physicians in an effort to carefully craft what promises to be landmark legislation for the entire State of Illinois.
“This legislation represents the very first of its kind in the state, and finally helps address the fact that the sexual assault of a child is inherently different from the sexual assault of an adult,” said Dr. Channing Petrak of the Pediatric Resource Center in Peoria. “As a pediatrician who specializes in child sexual assault, I am tremendously grateful for the tireless dedication that Representative Unes has given to this long-overdue initiative.”
The legislation also has the strong support of the Attorney General’s Office. According to Attorney General Lisa Madigan, “Survivors of sexual assault need specialized care from trained professionals when they go to the hospital, and this legislation is a step toward ensuring that the physical and emotional needs of survivors are met. I appreciate the committee’s support and encourage the full House to pass this important measure.”
The legislation (HB 5245) sponsored by Rep. Unes was unanimously approved today and now heads to the House of Representatives.