Legislation aims to protect privacy of sexual crime victims

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Legislation aims to protect privacy of sexual crime victims

Thu, 03/25/2021 - 10:53
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Victims who report sexual violence crimes would be able to keep their names from being disclosed publicly under twin bills filed in the Florida Senate and House of Representatives earlier this month.

Filed in the Senate by Sen. Lori Berman (D-Delray Beach) and in the House, by Rep. Robin Bartleman (D-Weston) SB 1044/HB 767 would require that victims of sexual violence crimes including rape or domestic violence provide written consent before their names could be disclosed in any public proceeding.

Under current law, the names and identifying information of those who report such crimes, as well as records created for a potential case against an alleged perpetrator, may be disclosed to others including employers and schools, Berman said. The proposed legislation is intended to remove victims' fear of reporting sexual violence crimes to the appropriate authorities.

We know that many victims are reluctant to come forward out of fear for their attacker, or feeling that somehow they were to blame for the assault,” Berman said. “This bill helps prevent breaches in their security so that justice can prevail.”

Bartleman said it is essential that State law support victims.

Once a sexual assault victim finds his or her strength to report the crime, it is imperative that the State does its part to protect the victim,” she said.

SB1044 has been referred to the Senate's Criminal Justice; Judiciary and Rules committees.

HB 767 has been referred to the House's Criminal Justice and Public Safety Subcommittee.

Both pieces of legislation remain pending.

 

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