HARRISBURG – The House of Representatives on this week passed legislation to help strengthen the protections for the most vulnerable victims of crime. Public safety is a core function of government, and the bills passed by the House take additional steps to support crime victims.
The York County House Republican delegation, comprised of Reps. Keith Gillespie (R-Hellam), Seth Grove (R-Dover), Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York Township), Dawn Keefer (R-Dillsburg), Kate Klunk (R-Hanover), and House Appropriations Chairman Stan Saylor (R-Red Lion) issued the following statement on the passage of the legislation:
“Passage of these critical pieces of legislation demonstrate that we in the House of Representatives are committed to standing up and protecting those who are victims of crime. The strong vote in the House continues the House Republican focus on ensuring the safety of Pennsylvania’s residents, schools and communities.
“We need to foster an environment in Pennsylvania where victims of crime feel supported and protected so that they will come forward about the crimes that were committed against them. We need to guarantee that victims are not penalized for coming forward. These courageous individuals should not be treated as criminals; they deserve every protection possible so they can safely testify against their abusers.
“Child victims and those with intellectual disabilities and autism deserve extra attention to ensure they are not victimized all over again during a trial. House Bills 2321, 2324, and 2325 help to ensure that these victims are given the full support of our justice system.
The bills passed by the House are as follows:
• House Bill 2321
Tender Years Expansion: Expands the tender years exception – which permits a court to admit an out-of-court statement from a child victim or child witness -- to include crimes such as human trafficking, incest, endangering the welfare of a child, corruption of minors, sexual abuse of children and sexual exploitation of children.
• House Bill 2324
Rape Shield Expansion: Includes past sexual victimization and allegations of past sexual victimization as inadmissible prosecutions at trial and includes additional serious crimes (human trafficking, incest, endangering the welfare of children, corruption of minors, sexual abuse of children, and sexual exploitation of children) to the protections under the Rape Shield Law.
• House Bill 2325
Intellectual Disabilities and Autism Testimony Protections: Extends the existing tender years exceptions to those with intellectual disabilities or autism.
York County Republican Delegation
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: John O’Brien