NJWLA announces support of two bills: The Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act of 2015 (Assembly Bill 4078 / Senate Bill 2686) and the Civil Rape Shield Law (NJ Assembly Bill A164 / Senate Bill 1751)

Contact:
Christine Bator
Public Policy Committee Co-Chair
cbatoresq@comcast.net
Anne Breslin
Public Policy Committee Co-Chair
abreslin@thebreslinlawfirm.com
For Immediate ReleaseMay 5, 2015
In recognition of April’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month, The New Jersey Women Lawyers Association announces support of two bills: The Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act of 2015 (Assembly Bill 4078 / Senate Bill 2686) and the Civil Rape Shield Law (NJ Assembly Bill A164 / Senate Bill 1751)The Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act of 2015 authorizes Final Restraining Orders for victims of sexual assault and non-consensual sexual contact. Under current law a victim must have had a domestic relationship with the alleged offender, or must file a police report. This bill would eliminate these preconditions. Studies have shown that sexual assaults are underreported and under-prosecuted and that many survivors are left without the additional protections restraining orders provide.

The Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act of 2015 has passed the New Jersey State Assembly unanimously and has been forwarded to the Senate Judiciary Committee where it is awaiting consideration. The New Jersey Women Lawyers Association urges the Senate Judiciary Committee to move the Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act of 2015 forward for a full vote by the New Jersey Senate so that the Act may be passed in the Senate and forwarded to Governor Christopher Christie to sign into law.

The Civil Rape Shield Law would establish a new evidence rule for civil actions. In a criminal matter, a sex assault victim’s sexual history is inadmissible except under certain prescribed circumstances. This bill would prevent a sexual assault survivor from being subject to discovery of his/her sexual conduct with persons other than the defendant in a civil lawsuit unless certain factors could be established.

The Civil Rape Shield Law (NJ Assembly Bill A164 / Senate Bill 1751) passed the Assembly unanimously last year and was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee where it was not acted upon. The New Jersey Women Lawyers Association urges the Assembly and the Senate to move the Civil Rape Shield Law forward once more so that it too can be signed into law by Governor Christie as soon as possible.

About New Jersey Women Lawyers Association

The NJWLA is an independent association of over one thousand attorneys, law students and judges in New Jersey. Its mission is to retain women in the legal profession through education and activism; promote its members to the highest levels of law firm, government, academic, community and corporate positions; and endorse qualified female attorneys for appointments to the state and federal judiciary. More information about the NJWLA, including membership materials, can be found at www.njwla.org.

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