Taxi Companies and Apps Could Soon Be Required to Report All Sexual Assault Cases

Backed by the county’s district attorney’s office and law enforcement officials, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo introduced an ordinance on Thursday that would require taxi and rideshare companies to report all complaints of sexual assault to authorities. 

Liccardo’s ordinance builds off the Washington Post’s 2019 investigation that rideshare companies did not report hundreds of allegations of rape to local law enforcement agencies. 

Liccardo alleges that survivors are thinking their reports of sexual assault are going somewhere, but they aren’t.

“Survivors likely believe that if they report their victimization to Uber or Lyft, the companies will do something to protect them and the public,” Liccardo said in a statement. “But they won’t — the survivor will see no restraining order, no arrest or conviction of the assailant, and no restitution. At the very least, these companies should be honest with survivors and tell them so.” 

The ordinance would also require companies to inform sexual assault survivors of medical care and counseling services, as well as their option to send information to law enforcement. 

Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen alleges that Uber and similar companies are not working to ensure the community is safe. Despite donating millions of dollars to sexual assault survivor advocacy programs, they do not share allegations of their own for the sake of “privacy” and “agency,” he said. 

His office said that from 2017 to 2018, 62 incidents of sexual assault in rideshare vehicles occurred in the county, yet their office only received and filed one Uber-related case that year.

“Please ask yourself if you want a potential rapist showing up at your pickup spot,” Rosen said in a statement. 

The ordinance also allows survivors’ right to privacy and the right to decline reporting assault. 

Liccardo’s ordinance will be reviewed at a joint meeting for the Rules and Open Government Committee and Committee of the Whole, scheduled for Dec. 7.

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