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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 4, 2019 11:38 AM
From: Representative Thomas P. Murt
To: All House members
Subject: Further Protection for Child Victims of Physical and Sexual Abuse (Prior HB 441)
There can be nothing more traumatic to a child than being the victim of a sexual assault. As legislators, I believe we have the responsibility to do everything in our power to protect these children and assist them in recovering from their ordeal.

Currently the Judicial Code, 42 Pa.C.S. Section 5988, provides a measure of confidentiality to child victims of sexual assault by prohibiting employees and officers of the courts from releasing the name of the victim except upon order of the court. Often, pleadings, affidavits and other documents substitute the child’s actual initials to comply with that requirement. That, however, does not fully protect a child. Since most sexual assaults on children are perpetrated by a relative or friend of the family, the name of the offender and his or her relationship to the victim become publically known and provide the context which allows for the identification of the child from their initials, particularly to those who are familiar with the family.

I plan to reintroduce legislation amending Section 5988 of the Judicial Code to prohibit release of a child sexual assault victim’s actual initials in addition to the current prohibition on release of names. I believe this amendment will help protect our most vulnerable victims from further humiliation and trauma.

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Introduced as HB660