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NYS adopts law to broaden the definition of rape to hold more perpetrators accountable

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Legislation S.3161/A.3340 Modernizes State Law to Ensure Forced Sexual Conduct Can Be Prosecuted as Rape

Governor Hochul Has Prioritized Protecting Survivors, Signing the Adult Survivors Act and Strengthening Support for Survivors of Domestic Abuse

From the Office of NY Governor Kathy Hochul

Governor Kathy Hochul today signed legislation to modernize New York State law to protect survivors of rape and hold perpetrators accountable for sexual assault. The legislation, S.3161/A.3340, updates the definition of rape in the penal code to ensure that additional forms of nonconsensual, forced sexual conduct can be prosecuted as rape. Since taking office, Governor Hochul has prioritized supporting survivors including by signing the Adult Survivors Act, implementing new protections for survivors of domestic violence, and cracking down on human trafficking.

“We are reassuring survivors that when they walk into a police station or approach the witness stand that the full weight of the law is behind them now going forward,” Governor Hochul said. “Rape will be treated like the horrific crime that it is. The voices have been heard, and we affirm that justice will be served.”

Legislation (S.3161/A.3340), also known as the “Rape is Rape” bill, removes the penetration requirement from the rape statutes and also defines rape as vaginal sexual contact, oral sexual contact, and anal sexual contact. The existing statue excluded oral and anal rape from being called rape and required a higher standard for vaginal rape. By modernizing New York’s rape statutes, this legislation ensures all survivors are protected from these crimes and offenders will be held fully accountable.

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