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Alliance: New York State Laws

New York State Laws

Explanation of Sex Offense Statute 130 and the NYS Sexual Assault Reform Act (SARA): Changes brought about by SARA:

New York State Anti-Trafficking Law

Explanation of Sex Offense Statute 130 and the Sexual Assault Reform Act (SARA):

Penal Code section 130 governs the prosecution of sexual offenses in New York State. For many years, prosecutors, victim advocates and legislators argued that New York’s laws needed to be revamped. As a result of their efforts, the State legislature passed the Governor’s omnibus, 52-point bill, Sexual Assault Reform Act (SARA), which became law on February 1, 2001. Since that time, the law has been amended several times.

The following is an interpretation of the New York State Penal Code 130 and changes brought about by SARA. This information should not be substituted for any information or advice offered by your local District Attorney’s Office.

What constitutes lack of consent?

Under New York State law, a sexual offense occurs when certain sexual acts are perpetrated against a victim without his or her consent. The law defines both (1) the behavior and the physical nature (body parts, etc) of a sex offense and (2) the lack of consent involved.

"Lack of consent" is defined in New York State's Penal Law as occurring in the following circumstances:

Forcible Compulsion: OR Physically helpless: physically unable to indicate a lack of consent (e.g. because victim is unconscious or because of a physical disability that makes one unable to physically or verbally communicate lack of consent).


Under 17 years of age: New York law states that a person less than 17 years of age is legally incapable of consenting to sexual intercourse or other sexual contact. These laws are typically known as statutory rape laws.

Mentally Incapacitated: when the victim is made temporarily incapable of understanding or controlling his or her conduct because a drug or other intoxicating substance (e.g. alcohol) was given to them without their consent.


Mentally Disabled: when a person suffers from a mental illness or a condition that renders them incapable of understanding the nature of their conduct.


Inmate: when a person is literally or physically under the control of others. Some examples are: OR

Some Factor Other Than Incapacity to Consent: Rape 3 and Criminal Sexual Act 3 have recently been modified with a "no means no" clause. In cases of intercourse only, if the victim expressed that he or she did not consent to the sex act in such a way that a reasonable person would have understood those words or acts as expressing lack of consent, this would be prosecutable as Rape in the third degree or Criminal Sexual Act in the third degree. This makes a case easier for the District Attorney to prosecute because it is based on a reasonable person standard, and not on the specific interpretation of a defendant.

What constitutes a sexual offense?

If any of the following acts are perpetrated against a victim "without his or her consent," as defined above, it is a crime under New York State Law:

Sexual Intercourse: the penetration of the penis into the vagina, however slight-- in other words, if the penis goes into the vagina just a little, not in its entirety, that is considered completed "sexual intercourse". (There is no requirement of physical injury and usually there is no requirement that ejaculation or orgasm have occurred.)


Criminal Sexual Act (Oral or Anal Sexual Conduct): does not require any penetration and occurs upon contact between penis and mouth, penis and anus (rectum), mouth and anus, or mouth and vaginal area.


Sexual Contact: any touching of the sexual or intimate parts of the body whether over or under clothing: AND/OR

Forcible Touching: the intentional and forcible touching of another AND/OR

Aggravated Sexual Contact: insertion of a foreign object (e.g. coke bottle, broom handle, etc.) into the vagina, urethra, penis or rectum.

New Provisions Brought About by the NYS Sexual Assault Reform Act (SARA)

Below you will find an up to date explanation of the changes to the Penal Code that are most important for victims.

Crime Victims Board Reimbursement

In New York State, the Crime Victims Board provides compensation to innocent victims of crime. The CVB also provides funding to agencies serving crime victims and advocates for crime victims’ rights and benefits. You can read more about CVB on their website: http://www.cvb.state.ny.us/index.html

Drug-Facilitated Rape

GHB (sometimes known as the "date rape drug") was "scheduled" so that its illegal use is criminal. Committing a sex crime by using GHB is a D level felony and is determined by the following:

Emergency Contraception

A new provision in 2003 requires hospitals that treat rape victims to provide information on emergency contraception. The Department of Health was given the responsibility to develop and produce informational materials on emergency contraception to be used by all hospitals in New York State. If requested by the victim, the hospital must provide emergency contraception to him or her.

New Crimes and New Provisions (not previously addressed)

Offenders/Bail/Sentencing Provisions

New York State Anti-Trafficking Law

New York State (NYS), especially New York City (NYC), is a destination for trafficked persons from all over the world who are forced into various labor sectors, such as restaurants, agriculture, domestic or sex work. To address this important concern, New York State enacted an anti-trafficking law that took effect on November 1, 2007.1 This document highlights the key changes made to New York State laws. [1] Download document in PDF format.

[1]: http://www.svfreenyc.org/media/survivors/antitraffickingnetwork/2007_12_12_nylaws.pdf

Copyright © 2000-2010 by The New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault

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