A three-bill legislative package sponsored by Assembly Democrats Lisa Swain, Gabriela Mosquera and Joann Downey to require sexual assault reporting and training in the airline industry was approved 77-0 Monday by the full Assembly.
“We can all agree that even one victim of sexual assault is too many, and the victims of these crimes deserve to know that we hear them and have their backs,” said Swain (D-Bergen, Passaic).
“It is crucial that policies are created and maintained that lead to these crimes being reported, prosecuted, and ultimately prevented.”
One bill (A-4175) would require the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (PANYNJ) to require airlines, vendors and contractors to adopt and maintain sexual assault policies and require the agency to collaborate with law enforcement to investigate and prosecute sexual assaults. While it is difficult to determine how frequently assaults occur on commercial flights in the United States–since no federal regulatory agency tracks such data nationwide–FBI investigations into midair sexual assaults increased 66 percent from fiscal years 2014-2017.
Another measure (AR-167) urges the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to require air carriers to submit annual sexual assault reports.
“Although not commonly known, sexual assaults occur on U.S. airlines,” said Mosquera
(D-Camden, Gloucester). “Nearly a year ago, one such assault occurred against a minor aboard a flight to Newark Liberty International Airport. Unfortunately, without federal reporting standards, there is no systematic way to address this issue.”
“This type of occurrence is unfathomable” said Downey (D-Monmouth). “We need to ‘sound the alarm’ on these types of crimes. It’s the only way we will truly keep all airline passengers safe.”
The last measure (AR-172) requires airlines to adopt policies as well as mandated-training regarding sexual assaults on airplanes.
Each measure was released by the Assembly Women and Children Committee. The three-bill legislative package will now go to the Senate for further consideration.