D.C.

Sex assault victim applauds D.C. Council's new rules for MPD

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(WJLA) - Advocates for victims of sexual assault maintain the Metropolitan Police Department is lacking when it comes to dealing with a violent and brutal crime.

Sexual assault victim Marisa Ferri said she went to District police for help. She says the detective assigned to her case didn't give her the assistance she expected.

"I felt like I wasn't taken seriously; I feel like I was pressured not to file a report ... she actually said that I could be ruining this guy's life if I filed a report," Ferri said. But Fair did proceed with filing a report.

Victim's advocates said they pressured Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier to implement changes in the department.

But when no changes were made by police, D.C. Council took action through a piece of legislation which is meant to change the way things are done within the department.

The bill includes many new rules, including one requiring that suspected sexual assault victims have an advocate present during hospital exams and police interview.

The bill also requires rape kits and toxicology reports be processed within 90 days.

 Fair said she believes this legislation will shield other victim's from treatment that only made an agonizing experience more painful.

"I couldn't more happy about this legislation reaching this stage. For someone like me, that's had a really traumatic experience reporting to the police," she said.

Fairs says that even though she was hesitant about filing at first, she now informs others about the importance of filing their cases.

The City Council is expected to approve the legislation on May 6th. It's expected to go into effect in the Fall.

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