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National Crime Victim Law Institute

Webinar: Intersection of Victims’ Rights and Rape Shield

Date: 12:00pm - 1:30pm PDT May 15, 2013

Click here to watch and listen to a recording of the webinar aired on May 15th.


Well into the 1970s, it was a legal truism in this country that victims of sexual assault who had been sexually active before the assault were essentially unrapeable.  Their chastity, or lack thereof, was seen as legal evidence that they had consented to the assault, and that they were not credible.  With the 1970s came the rape shield movement, which called these prejudices into question.  In the next decades, every state had rape shield legislation on the books, reflecting the truth that victims’ sexual history is irrelevant to their status as a victims of sexual assault.  But, forty years later, how successful has rape shield legislation been? 

Meg Garvin, Executive Director of NCVLI, and Alison Wilkinson, Violence Against Women Project Director at NCVLI, will briefly outline the history of rape shield before providing a snapshot of some of the most troublesome issues seen in rape shield litigation today.  This webinar will also arm the practitioner with practical tips about how victims’ rights provisions can be leveraged to allow victim participation in rape shield proceedings and create avenues for appellate review.



Meg Garvin, M.A., J.D., Executive Director, NCVLIMeg Garvin, M.A., J.D., is the executive director of the National Crime Victim Law Institute (NCVLI) and a clinical professor of law at Lewis & Clark Law School.  Ms. Garvin is recognized as a leading expert on victims’ rights.  She has testified before Congress and the Oregon Legislature on the current state of victim law. She serves on the Legislative & Public Policy Committee of the Oregon Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force, co-chairs the Oregon Attorney General’s Crime Victims’ Rights Task Force, and is a Board member of the Citizens’ Crime Commission.  She previously served as co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section Victims Committee, and as a member of the board of directors for the National Organization of Victim Assistance.  She is the recipient of 2012 Crime Victims First-Stewart Family Outstanding Community Service Award. 

Alison Wilkinson, J.D., Violence Against Women Project Director, NCVLI Ms. Wilkinson is an attorney at NCVLI.  Ms. Wilkinson has worked on a broad range of technical assistance requests at NCVLI, including drafting amicus briefs, and performing research and drafting memos on issues relating to sexual assault, domestic violence, and privacy, among other topics. She has presented at both local and national conferences on victims’ rights. She has also been appointed by the Oregon Attorney General to Oregon’s Sexual Assault Task Force. Prior to joining NCVLI, Ms. Wilkinson worked as a litigation associate at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe in New York City. Alison has a B.A. in English from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.



This webinar is supported by Grant No. 2012-TA-AX-K030 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this training are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.