After months of emotional testimony from women, new laws expand rape victims’ rights

Susan Livio | April 19, 2021 | NJ Advance Media |

 

Sexual assault victims would be entitled to copies of police reports and be notified when prosecutors are filing charges against their assailants under a package of bills Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law Monday.

The goal of the seven-bill package, which would also give victims a chance to seek “restorative justice” should they decide not to report the crime, is to create a criminal justice system that is more respectful and responsive to victims, said Sen. Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, a prime sponsor of the legislation.

“Far too often, survivors of sexual assault who have the courage to come forward are victimized a second time,” Weinberg said. “These laws aim to remedy the pitfalls in our criminal justice system and workplaces that allow violence and misogyny to continue. These new laws will empower survivors to become informed and pursue their rights.”

The laws are based on recommendations from Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner, a panel of women involved with New Jersey politics studying harassment and misconduct and Katie Brennan, a former campaign volunteer on Gov. Phil Murphy’s campaign whose explosive rape allegations led to legislative hearings.

 

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