§ 2181. Legislative purpose
A. The legislature hereby finds and declares that sexual assault is a major public health problem and a violation of human rights that affects many women and men at some time in their lives. These effects range from threats of violence or actual violence to the daily limitations that the fear of violence places on victims’ lives. The ripple effect of sexual assault threatens the peace, order, health, safety, and general welfare of the state and its residents.
B. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in five women and one in seventy-one men have experienced rape in their lifetime. Rape is recognized as the most under-reported crime, and victims of rape and other forms of sexual assault who do not report the crime still desire safety and protection from future interactions with the offender. Additionally, in some cases the rape or other sexual assault is reported but not prosecuted, as the nature of such allegations are sometimes not easily substantiated to meet the prosecution’s burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In such cases, the victims of sexual assault are left without protection.
C. Orders of protection are a proven deterrent that can protect victims of sexual assault from further victimization. However, many victims are forced to pursue civil orders of protection through ordinary process, often unrepresented, rather than through a shortened summary proceeding. Additionally, victims of sexual assault are not always aware of the vast resources available to assist them in recovering from the trauma associated with being a victim of sexual assault.
D. It is the intent of the legislature to provide a civil remedy for all victims of sexual assault that will afford the victim immediate and easily accessible protection.