Great news from CALCASA at the Capitol! SB 1402 (Kuehl) which eliminates the requirement for corroborating testimony in spousal rape cases has been signed by the Governor! This is a great legislative victory for the victims and survivors of sexual violence in California.
Before SB 1402, under California’s marital rape statute, in addition to reporting to prosecutorial authorities or law enforcement within a six year statute of limitations, as all rape victims are required to do, a victim of rape by a spouse must also report the rape to “medical personnel, a member of the clergy, an attorney, a shelter representative, a counselor, a judicial officer, a rape crisis agency, a prosecuting agency, a law enforcement officer or a firefighter” within one year of the violation. This additional reporting requirement does not apply if the victim’s allegation is “corroborated” by independent evidence that would be admissible during trial. The legislature long ago decided that “corroboration” of rape, an often very private crime, is difficult or impossible in most cases, and, therefore, California’s current rape statute, with the exception of marital rape, contains no such requirement. Both statutes carry a statute of limitations of six years, but the reporting requirement under the marital rape statute effectively diminishes the limit to one year for marital rape.