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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: March 15, 2019 09:51 AM
From: Senator Lisa Baker
To: All Senate members
Subject: Strengthening Protections for Young Abuse Victims
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation to help young abuse victims by expanding the Tender Years Exception for out-of-court statements to include additional serious sexual offenses.

In Pennsylvania, a hearsay statement of a child victim under the age of twelve is admissible if the evidence is relevant, if the time, content, and circumstances of the statement provide sufficient indicia of reliability, and if the young victim is not able to testify in court.

While this is an extremely beneficial option for young victims coping with trauma, current law is limited to homicide, assault, kidnapping, burglary, robbery, and certain specified sexual offenses. My proposal would add child sexual abuse, child exploitation, incest, endangering the welfare of children (if the conduct involved sexual contact with the child), unlawful contact with a minor, corruption of minors, and human trafficking to the list of covered crimes.

I hope you will join me in sponsoring this important legislation to help in the pursuit of justice for young victims of abuse.

Introduced as SB479