Until last week, Section 1035 of the Evidence Code did not specifically recognize any privileged communications between a sexual assault victim and a crisis counselor on a private or public college campus. As a result, it was uncertain whether such conversations could be deemed confidential or open to scrutiny by law enforcement and other entities.
That changed last week when legislation introduced in January by Riverside lawmaker, Assemblywoman Sabrina Cervantes, D-Corona, AB 1896, was signed into law by Governor Brown.
The measure, signed into law by the governor, received strong bi-partisan support in both state houses and will now protect the confidentiality of communications between sexual assault victims and crisis counselors on college campuses. In a statement about the signing Cervantes said, “I am elated that Gov. Brown has signed AB 1896 into law.”
Cervantes stressed, “We must do all that we can to provide survivors with the support they both need and deserve.’’ According to the Assemblywoman, increased attention to the issue of sexual assault that occurs on college campuses supported the strong need for sexual assault counselors to provide a safe environment and appropriate assistance for survivors.
State law already provided rape counselors in designated crisis centers, hospitals and clinics with the ability to communicate in confidence with those who seek their assistance or resources following a sexual trauma, now that security extends to counselors on college campuses statewide.
Statistics indicated that each year just over 11 percent of college students across the country report being raped or subjected to some form of sexual violation.