Digest 101 - August 2017
VICTIMS’ RIGHTS DIGEST 101:
an anthology of global news & media affecting crime victims
INTERNATIONAL VICTIMS’ RIGHTS______________
The Jordanian parliament voted to repeal Article 308 of the penal code, which permitted rapists to escape punishment if they married their victims. The repeal cannot take effect until it receives approval from Parliament’s upper body and King Abdullah II. Rights groups applauded the decision, calling it step forward in ending violence against women.
The public has until August 24th to give feedback on sweeping changes to the Criminal Procedure Code and Evidence Act proposed by the Ministry of Law. Three key changes are: enhanced protection of victims of sex crimes and child abuse during court proceedings to minimize their trauma; allowing for the use of video statements from suspects and witnesses by criminal investigators; and increased use of community sentences for offenders to assist in rehabilitation.
GENERAL VICTIMS’ RIGHTS ___________________________________________
After an attempt to pass Marsy’s Law failed in 2017, advocates have doubled their efforts and are building a early base of support for another effort to pass constitutional rights for crime victims . Marsy’s Law would give victims constitutional rights to being informed of all court proceedings during the legal process as well as the rights to protection and fairness and the rights to be present, heard, and notified.
Responding to a petition challenging the constitutionality of Marsy’s Law, which was passed by 66 percent of Montana voters last fall, the Montana Attorney General’s Office filed an argument with the state Supreme Court in support of the law. The law is currently on hold while the Montana Supreme Court decides.
Ohio’s election chief has certified for the fall ballot a proposed constitutional amendment giving crime victims and their families the same rights as the accused. Dubbed Marsy’s Law for Ohio, the proposal would require that victims and their families be notified of all court proceedings, be allowed to tell their accounts of the crime and give victims input on pleas deals.
Introduced in April and modified in June in response to feedback, Wisconsin’s version of Marsy’s Law would give crime victims more say in criminal prosecutions. If passed, the amendment would require victims to ‘opt in’ to be involved in each step of the case, and all them to make a statement to the court during hearings in which the accused could be released, enter a plea, be sentence or be released on parole, among other things. The amendment must be passed by two consecutive Legislatures before going to the voters.
In response to U.S. Department of Education announcing the possibility of dismantling Title IX protections for victims of sexual assault on college campuses, a group of 20 state attorneys sent a letter to Education Secretary in strong support of keeping protections remain in place.
VICTIMS OF TRAFFICKING ___________________________________________
The Navajo Nation has enacted a new law making human trafficking within its boundaries a criminal offense. Under the law, tribal courts have jurisdiction over human trafficking cases, including those involving non-Native Americans, when a federal law enforcement agency or a federal court declines the matter or does not exercise jurisdiction to prosecute.
VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, STALKING & SEXUAL ASSAULT ______________________
California lawmakers are proposing a series of bills that would require law enforcement to track and report the number of rape kits they collect and test, establish time guidelines for testing, processing, and holding of rape kits, propose funding alternatives for testing the backlog, and expand services for victims.
A new California law mandates offenders pay for any mental health and trauma treatment needed by victims of sexual abuse under the age of 14. The law gets ride of loop hole that banned them from receiveing restitution for mental health services.
A new law denies bail to anyone convicted of felony stalking or habitual domestic violence. The law will require offenders remain incarcerated while awaiting sentencing to protect victims from any kind of retaliation.
The Georgia Board of Regents just released new policies on sexual misconduct investigations on the state’s public campuses. The new policies require reports to the University System of any cases involving alleged violations that may result in a suspension or expulsion.
The University of Illinois is considering plans to bar athletes with a history of sexual or domestic abuse from participating in sports. The proposed plan could go into effect for the coming academic year and would make Illinois the second Big Ten school, after Indiana, to raise the off-field standards for athletes in the last four months.
A proposed bill would require police departments across Pennsylvania be trained in the Lethality Assessment Program or LAP, an 11-step questionnaire that officers must ask suspected domestic violence victims. Depending on the lethality, officers would immediately call a domestic violence hotline; bill advocates say this step is crucial because the victim is now connected with help rather than having to seek it alone.
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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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