ill Would Also Keep Victims’ Requests Confidential
TRENTON – Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean Jr. allowing crime victims to get official records related to a crime they suffered at no cost, and ensuring their requests are kept confidential, was approved today the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.
“Crime victims must cope with various pressures related to their victimization, which often includes emotional stress and legal demands. They shouldn’t also be asked to pay for records or other documents related to the crime they suffered,” said Senator Weinberg (D-Bergen). “Providing documents related to their case free of charge is the right thing to do. This bill is a compassionate and common sense step in advancing victims’ rights.”
“The tolls of being victimized are already high enough,” said Kean (R-Union). “Vulnerable and suffering victims deserve free, easy access to public records in this way, so that they can better protect themselves and their families.”
Under the bill (S-1524), a crime victim would not be charged for any official records related to the crime. Records would include, but not be limited to, a law enforcement report, domestic violence report or restraining order. The measure would also amend the Open Public Records Act to keep the records requests from being disclosed.
“Victims who provide information to authorities are often in fear of retaliation or harassment by their attackers,” said Senator Weinberg. “Keeping these requests private is important to helping victims feel comfortable providing certain information to law enforcement and to safeguarding them against further harm.”
The committee approved the legislation by a vote of 13-0. The bill next heads to the full Senate for a vote.