Senate Unanimously Approves Langerholc Bill to Allow Expert Witnesses To Aid Victims of Domestic Violence, Human Trafficking

Harrisburg – The State Senate this week unanimously approved a bill sponsored by Senator Wayne Langerholc, Jr. (R-35) that would provide new and critical resources to aid victims of domestic violence and human trafficking who are involved in court cases against their abusers.

            Langerholc said Senate Bill 81 would amend the Judicial Code to permit the Commonwealth to call expert witnesses in court cases involving victims of domestic violence and human trafficking in order to provide a clearer picture of the crime, how it impacts victims and affects their behavior.

            Langerholc said the state judicial code currently allows expert witnesses to testify in cases of sexual violence about the dynamics of the crime, the victim’s response and the impact of sexual violence on victims both during and after the assault.

            “These expert witnesses have been crucial to helping jurors understand the tremendous trauma that a sexual assault can have on a victim and how that trauma can affect their behavior and their overall health,” Langerholc said. “Seeing how valuable these experts have been to providing justice to victims of sexual assault, and the links between these crimes, I believe these expert witnesses should also be permitted in cases of domestic violence and human trafficking. They will be a valuable asset to victims at a time when they need it most.”

CONTACT: Gwenn Dando  gdando@pasen.gov