§ 5920.  Expert testimony in certain criminal proceedings.

(a)  Scope.--This section applies to all of the following:

(1)  A criminal proceeding for any crime listed under Subchapter H (relating to registration of sexual offenders) or I (relating to continued registration of sexual offenders) of Chapter 97.

(2)  A criminal proceeding for an offense, including attempt, solicitation or conspiracy, under any of the following provisions of 18 Pa.C.S. (relating to crimes and offenses):

(i)  Chapter 30 (relating to human trafficking), if the offense involved sexual servitude.

(ii)  Chapter 31 (relating to sexual offenses).

(iii)  Section 4302 (relating to incest).

(iv)  Section 4304 (relating to endangering welfare of children), if the offense involved sexual contact with the victim.

(v)  Section 5902(b) or (b.1) (relating to prostitution and related offenses).

(vi)  Section 6301(a)(1)(i) (relating to corruption of minors), if the offense involved sexual contact with the victim.

(vii)  Section 6301(a)(1)(ii).

(viii)  Section 6312 (relating to sexual abuse of children).

(ix)  Section 6318 (relating to unlawful contact with minor).

(x)  Section 6320 (relating to sexual exploitation of children).

(3)  A criminal proceeding for a domestic violence offense.

(b)  Qualifications and use of experts.--

(1)  In a criminal proceeding subject to this section, a witness may be qualified by the court as an expert if the witness has specialized knowledge beyond that possessed by the average layperson based on the witness's experience with, or specialized training or education in, criminal justice, behavioral sciences or victim services issues, related to sexual violence or domestic violence, that will assist the trier of fact in understanding the dynamics of sexual violence or domestic violence, victim responses to sexual violence or domestic violence and the impact of sexual violence or domestic violence on victims during and after being assaulted.

(2)  If qualified as an expert, the witness may testify to facts and opinions regarding specific types of victim responses and victim behaviors.

(3)  The witness's opinion regarding the credibility of any other witness, including the victim, shall not be admissible.

(4)  A witness qualified by the court as an expert under this section may be called by the attorney for the Commonwealth or the defendant to provide the expert testimony.

(c)  Definitions.--As used in this section, the term "domestic violence" means an offense under 18 Pa.C.S. § 2701 (relating to simple assault), 2702 (relating to aggravated assault), 2709.1 (relating to stalking) or 2718 (relating to strangulation) perpetrated against a family or household member, as that term is defined in 23 Pa.C.S. § 6102 (relating to definitions).


(June 29, 2012, P.L.656, No.75, eff. 60 days; June 30, 2021, P.L.247, No.52, eff. 60 days)


2021 Amendment.  Act 53 amended subsecs. (a) and (b)(1) and added subsec. (c).

2012 Amendment.  Act 75 added section 5920. Section 2 of Act 75 provided that section 5920 shall apply to actions initiated on or after the effective date of section 2.