N.J. 'bill of rights' for assault victims clears Assembly panel

BY JOHN REITMEYER The Record

A section of New Jersey law that establishes a “Bill of Rights” for crime victims would be expanded to provide more rights for the victims of sexual assault under a bipartisan bill that cleared a state Assembly panel on Thursday.

The “Sexual Assault Victims’ Rights Act” would require victims to be notified of a number of developments in their case involving DNA collection and the testing of possible assailants.

Sponsors said the measure will ensure sexual assault victims have access to important information developed by law enforcement as they investigate their case. 

“Many sexual assault victims find the criminal justice system less forthcoming than it should be with information about their cases, which can leave them feeling victimized all over again,” said Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, D-Englewood. “This affirms that victims have the right to relevant information about their cases.”

“Sexual assault victims have been through enough,” said Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt, D-Camden. “They should not have to fight the very system that is supposed to help them for information about their cases.”

An identical version of the bill sponsored by state Sen. Diane Allen, R-Burlington, has also been introduced in the Senate.    

Email: reitmeyer@northjersey.com