Digest 101 - October 101
October 09, 2017
VICTIMS’ RIGHTS DIGEST 101:
an anthology of global news & media affecting crime victims
GENERAL VICTIMS’ RIGHTS ___________________________________________
Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law a bill allowing “therapy” dogs in court during witness testimony . The bill allows the especially trained dogs into courtrooms to lend comfort and emotional support to vulnerable victims and witnesses, including certain child witnesses.
Lawmakers are considering passage of Marsy’s Law after it stalled in the House last year. The proposal would change the Victim Rights Amendment in Idaho’s constitution, which voters ratified in 1994. Under the new amendment, victims would have to be notified in a “reasonable and timely” manner of all court proceedings involving suspects and be heard at each step of the legal process. It also would prioritize full and timely restitution from economic losses due to a crime and define crime victim to include “any person or entity directly and proximately harmed” by the crime.
VICTIMS OF TRAFFICKING ___________________________________________
The Abolishing Human Trafficking Act has passed in the U.S. Senate. The bill will strengthen tools for law enforcement and prosecutors to fight human trafficking, increase awareness, and make sure victims get the resources they need to escape, seek legal protection and rebuild their lives. The bill will also boost assistance to victims of human trafficking, strengthen law enforcement and victims services organizations, and make sure perpetrators of these crimes are subject to harsher punishments.
The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bipartisan bill to aid in the fight against human trafficking. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2017 would renew existing programs that make federal resources available to human trafficking survivors and create new prevention, prosecution, and collaboration initiatives.
A newly introduced bill would require technical colleges and licensed commercial driving schools to teach drivers the signs of human trafficking to get their license.
VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, STALKING & SEXUAL ASSAULT ______________________
The U.S. Education Department Secretary has rescinded Obama-era guidelines for investigating campus sexual assaults. The Department released a new, temporary question-and-answer statement, replacing one issued by the Obama administration in 2014, to advise colleges and universities about how their responsibilities have changed.
The Safeguarding Addresses from Emerging (SAFE) at Home Act would strengthen privacy protections for victims of domestic violence. The bill would allow victims of domestic violence who are participating in state Address Confidentiality Programs (ACP) to use their confidential substitute address when creating new public records at the federal level, preventing the disclosure of their actual physical address.
Three new laws are helping victims of sexual assault in Maryland. The laws define sexual assault to not require physical resistance for prosecution, require evidence of sexual assault be kept for 20 years, and expand the definition of rape beyond forced intercourse.
A recently filed a bill that would require parole boards to take an inmate’s past domestic violence convictions into account. It would also require boards to consider whether the inmate has been found responsible for wrongful death in a civil case and require those who come before a parole board to testify under penalty of perjury.
A recently proposed bill would protect domestic violence victims who file protection from abuse (PFA) orders against their abusers. Senate Bill 501 would bar gun possession by all domestic abusers subject to PFAs and require them to turn in their guns to licensed dealers or law enforcement officials.
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This Digest includes many of the news, cases and research links that come across NCVLI’s desk. This Digest is not intended to be a comprehensive collection of crime types or news items affecting crime victims, nor does NCVLI express any opinion regarding any of the stories contained herein. The Digest is merely designed to provide readers with a glimpse of victims’ issues being talked about and reported on across the country and around the world. NCVLI is grateful to the Lewis & Clark law students who research and compile the articles included in the Digest.
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