Gov. Inslee signs into law a bill to redefine third-degree rape in Washington state
OLYMPIA, Wash. — Governor Jay Inslee signed into law on Friday a bill that revises the legal definition of third-degree rape in Washington state.
Senate Bill 5649 was signed into law during Sexual Assault Awareness month. The bill was sponsored by Senator Manka Dhingra, who represents the 45th legislative district.
Not only does the bill extend the window of time alotted for prosecuting sex crimes in Washington state, it also redefines third-degree rape. Previously, the victim was required to have expressed non-consent to sexual contact. Under Bill 5649, the focus will be turned to whether or not consent was given.
Washington has had a history of some of the shortest and most complex limitations in the country in terms of the prosecution of sexual assault crimes, according to a statement released Friday by Legal Voice, a non-profit legal organization.
“These changes represent a growing understanding of the trauma associated with sexual assault,” said Mary Ellen Stone, executive director of the king county sexual assault resource center.
“We end sexual violence when we understand and respond in a way that encourages more survivors to come forward.”
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