From State Sen. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper)
STATEHOUSE -- A bill authored by State Sen. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper) that would increase protections for victims of abuse in Indiana recently passed the Indiana House of Representatives with a bipartisan vote of 92 to 4.
Senate Bill 551 would address and close several loopholes in current law to better protect young Hoosiers from predators. This would include allowing a restraining order to be issued against an adult engaged in the grooming of a child for sex.
In addition to closing loopholes, SB 551 would:
· Expand the rights of domestic violence and child abuse victims;
· Protect the community from sex offenders and violent abusers;
· Prohibit the Department of Child Services from releasing information on minor fatalities if there is an ongoing investigation;
· Allow a child victim to bring a comfort item, such as a stuffed animal or specially trained dog, to court during testimony; and
· Restrict the disclosure of sensitive information about a child victim and defendant during a criminal investigation or prosecution.
“I’m pleased to see this important legislation moving through the General Assembly,” Messmer said. “If signed into law, SB 551 would impact every Hoosier community by working to better protect and respect the privacy of victims and ensure offenders are justly punished for their actions.”
The Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council, which represents county prosecutors across the state, supports this legislation.
SB 551 will now move back to the Senate for consideration.