13 Anti-Sexual Violence Bills to Know in November

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It’s been a packed legislative season this Fall for RAINN's public policy team. In the span of 14 days, RAINN has helped pass or progress 13 anti-sexual violence bills in Congress and state legislatures. From dedicating more funding to end the rape kit backlog to extending or eliminating statute of limitations to closing a loophole around voluntary intoxication, these bills will make a big difference.

Noteworthy federal successes include the Senate passing of the Project Safe Childhood Act which will help prosecute more perpetrators of online child sexual exploitation, the Debbie Smith Act that provides essential funding for swift DNA testing, and the END Childhood Exploitation Act that pushes for extended data retention by internet service providers to combat child sexual abuse materials.

On the state level, victories abound. California’s governor signed AB 933 into law, safeguarding survivors from defamation actions. In New York, efforts to close the voluntary incapacitation loophole are underway, addressing barriers to justice for victims. Pennsylvania witnessed the unanimous passage of H.B. 507, requiring informed consent for medical procedures. Meanwhile, Michigan sees progress with six bills that include extending statutes of limitations and holding entities accountable for negligence related to criminal sexual conduct. RAINN continues to be a driving force behind these critical legislative milestones.

Read more about each bill on our Fall 2023 Policy Breakdown below. Want to stay current with RAINN’s policy work? Follow us at RAINN Policy.


Federal Legislation

Project Safe Childhood Act

On October 24, 2023, the Project Safe Childhood Act passed the U.S. Senate. The Project Safe Childhood Act will require the U.S. Attorney General to develop and disseminate best practices for the prioritization of cases involving online child sexual exploitation. The bill will also fund an additional 20 Federal prosecutors at the U.S. Department of Justice dedicated to these cases. In addition to RAINN’s work heralding this bill through Congress, we welcomed its Senate passage with a press release.

Debbie Smith Act

On November 2, 2023, The U.S. Senate voted to renew the Debbie Smith Act, a law that, to date, is responsible for aiding hundreds of thousands of investigations in America. The bill provides critical funding to public crime laboratories to efficiently and swiftly test DNA evidence, including rape kits.

The reauthorization of the Debbie Smith Act of 2023 (S.499) will provide grants to state and local public crime laboratories to build capacity to analyze DNA samples in evidence kits. The Debbie Smith Act was last reauthorized in 2019 and expires this fiscal year.

END Childhood Exploitation Act

On November 3, 2023, a bipartisan group of Congressional members introduced the END Child Exploitation Act. This bill would require internet service providers (ISPs) to retain metadata on those who proliferate child sexual abuse materials (CSAM) for a full year. Under current law, they are free to delete this information after 90 days, which hampers law enforcement’s ability to prosecute these crimes.

RAINN has been advocating for the extension of the data retention requirement and garnered support from members of Congress.

State Legislation


On October 17, 2023, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 933 into state law. AB 933 protects survivors from defamation action, and ensures financial security in the event the defamation claim is a retaliatory action from the abuser. RAINN advocated for this bill on social media as well, with RAINN’s Instagram post being included in Forbes coverage of the Bill passing.

New York

On October 26, 2023, RAINN’s Stefan Turkheimer, Miss New York USA Rachelle Di Stasio, Senator Fernandez, Assemblyman Dinowitz, Assemblyman Hevesi, Former U.S. Congresswoman Maloney, and a coalition of other New York-based anti-sexual violence organizations called on New York lawmakers to close the state’s Volutary Incapacitation Loophole.

Unfortunately, New York statute requires that mental incapacitation results from a person being under the influence without their agreement. This creates what is today called the voluntary intoxication loophole (i.e. if the victim has themselves voluntarily become intoxicated, the rape statute does not apply.) This prevents many victims from having their case tried and thereby achieving some semblance of justice. In New York, there are two bills to close this loophole: one in the State Assembly and one in the State Senate. To pass, these bills must be voted on at the committee level in both the Assembly and Senate, and then move to the floor of both chambers for a full vote. Once ratified, it will be submitted to Governor Hochul to be signed into law.

In Pennsylvania:

H.B. 507 passed unanimously out of the Pennsylvania Senate Health and Human Services Committee. RAINN’s policy team advocates against medical students performing pelvic exams on individuals who are under anesthesia and did not provide their prior consent. H.B. 507 requires a patient’s informed consent before conducting pelvic, rectal and prostate examinations.

In Michigan:

RAINN helped advance six bills surrounding the statute of limitations:

H.B. 4482 extends the statute of limitations for civil action and would eliminate the statute of limitations for civil action to recover damages if there is a criminal conviction related to criminal sexual conduct.

H.B. 4483 would delete the ten year statute of limitations for civil action for adult victims.

H.B. 4484 would exempt a claim for compensation for criminal sexual conduct from statutes of limitations that pertain to filing a claim against the state.

H.B. 4485 eliminates the statute of limitations for criminal indictments. Under the bill, an indictment for criminal sexual conduct in the second or third degree could be found and filed at any time, regardless of the age of the alleged victim at the time of the offense.

H.B. 4486 adds a new section to 1964 PA 170 that states that governmental agencies and employees do not have immunity in relation to liability for negligence. This applies if an employee or agency knew or should have known that a perpetrator of Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC) has committed a prior act and failed to act or intervene in a way that would prevent the act of CSC.

H.B. 4487 allows claims that fall under H.B. 4482 to be able to file claims against the state without a statute of limitations.