03092017CM0267

“We cannot hope to prevent domestic abuse if we do not adequately fund the facilities and services that actively work with victims.” - State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign)

SPRINGFIELD – For many abused women, domestic violence shelters are the last refuge from which they can begin to rebuild their lives. These very shelters, however, are now on the verge of closing due to the state’s historic budget impasse.

One such shelter is the Urbana-based provider Courage Connection. The facility is the only domestic violence shelter in Champaign-Urbana. In December, the provider learned that the $600 million in the state’s stopgap budget did not include its funding.

On Tuesday, the Illinois Senate heard testimony from the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault to discuss how the budget impasse was putting the safety and well-being of abuse victims in danger.

“Approximately 40,000 fewer Illinois students received prevention education programs last year,” said Polly Poskin, executive director of the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault. “Rape victims are hurt by the impasse as waiting lists for crucial counseling and advocacy services expand.”

State Senator Scott Bennett, a Democrat who represents the Champaign-Urbana area in the Senate, says the lack of funding for domestic violence programs is unconscionable.

“We cannot hope to prevent domestic abuse if we do not adequately fund the facilities and services that actively work with victims,” Bennett said. “While we sit in Springfield debating our business climate, very real people are suffering beyond belief.”

Bennett is no stranger to working with abuse victims. A former Champaign County Assistant State’s Attorney, Bennett has drawn on his experiences as a prosecutor to pass legislation out of the Senate that would help the victims of sexual assault.

Category: Press Releases

011316CM0815

“This legislation is a beacon of hope to victims all over Illinois that an arbitrary deadline won’t stand between them and justice.” - State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign)

SPRINGFIELD – Legislation removing the statute of limitations for certain sex crimes against minors passed the Illinois Senate today. By a vote of 54-0, members of the Senate sided with victims still struggling to come to terms with the crimes committed against them.

State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) worked with Attorney General Lisa Madigan to pass the measure.

“Survivors of these horrific crimes should not be forced to seek justice before they are ready to do so,” Bennett said. “This legislation is a beacon of hope to victims all over Illinois that an arbitrary deadline won’t stand between them and justice.”

Attorney General Lisa Madigan has made protecting the victims of sex crimes a top priority of her office.

“For a child survivor of sexual assault, reporting their crime can be unimaginable because these crimes are usually committed by an adult they know well,” Madigan said. “We must ensure that we can seek justice whenever a survivor comes forward to report the crime.”

The measure now goes to the House of Representatives.

Category: Press Releases

Bennett U of I

“Guaranteeing funding for the future will allow U of I to maintain its position as one of the most prestigious universities in the Midwest and the nation.” - State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign)

SPRINGFIELD – The University of Illinois could see a long-term funding plan from the state thanks to legislation before the Illinois Senate. Senate Bill 222 would guarantee five years of funding at a minimum level for U of I if they meet certain metrics.

State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign), whose district includes the University of Illinois, is the legislation’s chief co-sponsor.

“The University of Illinois is not just a school, it is an economic powerhouse for downstate Illinois,” Bennett said. “Guaranteeing funding for the future will allow U of I to maintain its position as one of the most prestigious universities in the Midwest and the nation.”

In exchange for the funding, the university must meet certain requirements relating to tuition, admissions numbers, financial aid and performance.

Senate Bill 222 is currently in the Senate Higher Education Committee.

Category: Press Releases

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“Victims of sexual assault and abuse deserve a pledge that justice does not have an expiration date” - State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign)

SPRINGFIELD — Victims of sexual abuse and assault as minors will no longer have to worry about their abuser walking free due to the statute of limitations under a plan being pushed in the Illinois State Senate.

State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign), who introduced Senate Bill 189, said it would remove the statute of limitations for sex crimes committed against minors.

“Victims of sexual assault and abuse deserve a pledge that justice does not have an expiration date,” Bennett said. “With this legislation, we can deliver a message of hope to victims everywhere by guaranteeing their abusers won’t get away because time ran out.”

In previous hearings Bennett held on this legislation, the Attorney General was joined by one of former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s victims, Scott Cross, who called for a review of the existing laws.

“Children who suffer sexual assault and abuse often spend a lifetime trying to recover from the violations they have experienced,” Madigan said. “There should be no limitation on the pursuit of justice for felony sex crimes committed against children. We must ensure survivors are able to come forward in their own time and receive the support they need and deserve.”

The crimes included in the legislation are criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault, predatory criminal sexual assault of a child and aggravated criminal sexual abuse and criminal sexual abuse.

Category: Press Releases
 

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