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Protection of Victims of Sexual Offenses

Concerning increased evidentiary requirements in criminal proceedings for protection of victims of sexual assaults.
2024 Regular Session
Crimes, Corrections, & Enforcement
Bill Summary

Under current law, certain evidence of a victim's or witness's prior or subsequent sexual conduct is presumed irrelevant, but there is an exception for evidence of the victim's or witness's prior or subsequent sexual conduct with the defendant. The bill eliminates this exception.

The bill expands the criminal rape shield law to prohibit the admission of evidence of the victim's manner of dress or hairstyle as evidence of the victim's consent.

  • The victim's manner of dress or hairstyle as evidence of the victim's consent; or
  • A victim's behavioral or mental health that is offered by a defendant who is a psychotherapist who is accused of unlawful sexual behavior, unless the court finds that the evidence is relevant to a material issue to the case.

The bill amends what a moving party must show to the court and to opposing parties and what the court must find in order to introduce evidence that is presumed to be irrelevant under the criminal rape shield law.

Under current law, a defendant may move to introduce evidence that the victim or a witness has a history of false reporting of sexual assaults, upon a sufficient showing to the court and opposing parties. The bill allows the defendant to offer evidence concerning at least one incident of false reporting of unlawful sexual behavior and also articulate facts that would, by a preponderance of the evidence, demonstrate that the victim or witness has made a report that was demonstrably false or false in fact.

(Note: Italicized words indicate new material added to the original summary; dashes through words indicate deletions from the original summary.)

(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)


Became Law


Bill Text

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The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details