(HARRISBURG) – Legislation drafted by State Senator Wayne Langerholc, Jr. (R-35) that would help jurors fully understand domestic violence and human trafficking cases was passed unanimously by the General Assembly and signed into law by the Governor.
Act 52 of 2021 amends the Judicial Code to permit the Commonwealth to call expert witnesses in cases of domestic violence and human trafficking to explain victim behavior which is already allowed for cases of sexual violence.
Specifically, there is a portion of the Judicial Code which allows expert witnesses with a specialized knowledge to testify regarding the dynamics of sexual violence, victim responses to sexual violence and the impact of sexual violence on victims during and after being assaulted.
“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.,” Sen. Langerholc said. “Seeing how impactful these experts have been to providing justice to victims of sexual assault, and the links between the three crimes, these expert witnesses will be valuable in cases of domestic violence and human trafficking.”
Act 52 of 2021 allows testimony in cases for the following offenses: human trafficking, domestic violence, sexual offenses, incest and endangering the welfare of children if the offense involved sexual contact with the victim. It also allows testimony for the prostitution, unlawful contact and corruption of minors, as well as the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children.
CONTACT: Gwenn Dando, 717-787-5400