Johnson Bill to Better Assist Victims of Sexual Violence Released by Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Majority Conference Leader Gordon Johnson to require mandatory sexual violence training for law enforcement, judicial and prosecutorial personnel was released Monday by an Assembly committee.
“Acts of sexual violence are serious and prevalent crimes but likely continue to remain the most under reported crimes,” said Johnson (D-Bergen). “Sadly, many victims choose not to report these crimes due to their fears of the criminal justice system, so let’s be sure all law enforcement, judicial and prosecutorial personnel are trained in and educated about the dynamics of sexual violence and victim treatment. This will create an environment that encourages victims to report crimes of sexual violence to law enforcement and participate in the criminal justice process.”
The bill (A-1657) requires the Division of Criminal Justice to develop and approve for all law enforcement officers and prosecutors a training course and curriculum on the handling, investigation and response procedures concerning reports of sexual offenses. The bill also requires the Administrative Office of the Courts to develop and approve such a program for all judges and judicial personnel.
Johnson said the training would include information concerning the impact of sexual violence on society, dynamics of sexual violence and victim impact, victims’ right to rape care advocacy before and during any investigatory process, statutory and case law concerning sexual violence, medical and forensic exam procedures, policies and procedures as promulgated or ordered by the Attorney General or the Supreme Court and use of available community resources, support services, available sanctions and treatment options.
The training course would be reviewed at least every two years and modified as needed.
All law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges and judicial personnel would be required to attend initial training within 90 days of appointment or transfer. They also would be required to attend in service training on an annual basis.
The bill was released 10-1 by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.