In recognition of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, the Senate passed a package of bills today (April 9) designed to protect crime victims and ensure they have more opportunities to participate in the judicial process, according to Senator Elder Vogel (R-47), who supported the proposals. Video
The package of bills includes measures to give crime victims more rights to attend criminal trials; expand the rights of individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism to provide testimony; provide hearsay exceptions for statements made by young witnesses of cases of sexual assault; and shield rape victims against irrelevant cross examinations.
“These are important bills that will provide justice for children and for individuals with intellectual disabilities who have fallen victim to predators,” said Senator Vogel. “This will bring us into the 21st Century in addressing these crimes and making sure that predators are held accountable for their actions.”
The package of bills include:
Senate Bill 425, which amends Pennsylvania’s Crime Victims Act to allow victims to attend the entirety of criminal trials.
Senate Bill 431, which shields rape victims from irrelevant cross examination.
Senate Bill 469, which would apply the existing Tender Years Exception – which allows certain out-of-court statements to be admissible as evidence – to include individuals with intellectual disabilities or autism.
Senate Bill 479, which would expand the Tender Years Exception to apply to a wider variety of crimes, including serious sexual offenses. This exception currently only applies in cases of homicide, assault, kidnapping, burglary, robbery, and a narrow number of sexual offenses.
The bills were sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Contact: Charlie O’Neill (717) 787-3076 firstname.lastname@example.org