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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: February 11, 2021 09:19 AM
From: Representative Stephen Kinsey and Rep. Bridget M. Kosierowski, Rep. Carol Hill-Evans
To: All House members
Subject: Securing Waiting Areas in Courthouses and Hospitals
One of the most difficult things a victim or witness of a crime could do is testifying in open court
against an offender. For victims, this often means re-living the trauma of an attack. For
witnesses, it means the recounting of the distressing details of a crime. To add to the already
stressful conditions in the courtroom, victims and witnesses may be forced to confront
defendants outside the courtroom or while recovering in a hospital, potentially leading to

The Crime Victims Act of 1998 established safe and secure waiting areas in courts across the
Commonwealth in order to keep victims safe from intimidation by defendants and their
Associates. Our proposal further defines these safe waiting areas and directs The Pennsylvania
Commission on Crime and Delinquency to set standards for their construction. It also requires
the same secure waiting areas to be available in hospitals, to protect victims when they are in
their most vulnerable state. Furthermore, our proposal guarantees these secure waiting areas to be
available to similarly vulnerable groups: witnesses, attorneys, and family members of victims.

We believe that as state legislators, we have a responsibility to protect victims and witnesses
from further violence and intimidation. Please join our vision to enhance victims’ rights and
safety in Pennsylvania.

Introduced as HB971