Minor assault victims could give consent for treatment

Senators advanced a bill March 31 that would change provisions for minors who are victims of sexual or domestic assault.

Under LB479, introduced by Omaha Sen. Steve Lathrop, a victim of sexual or domestic assault who is at least 18 years of age could be examined and treated by a physician without the consent or notification of a parent or guardian.

LB479 would help to ensure that treatment and evidence collection in assault cases happen in a timely manner, Lathrop said. A significant number of 18-year-old assault victims are in college and fear telling their parents about the assault, he said, so they may not seek appropriate medical treatment.

Scottsbluff Sen. John Harms spoke in support of the bill, saying it is needed for young victims of sexual assault. The sooner they seek treatment, he said, the better off they will be.

A Judiciary Committee amendment removed physicians’ civil and criminal liability from the bill.

A Lathrop amendment making technical changes was adopted 38-0 and the committee amendment was adopted 39-0.

LB479 advanced from general file on a 39-0 vote.

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