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Jul 252012

Last month, on June 29, Governor Corbett signed a new bill which becomes law on August 29, 2012. 42 Pa. C.S. § 5920 or HB 1264 allows experts to testify in criminal cases of sex abuse as to the victim’s behavior and response after the abuse. Prior to passage of this law, Pennsylvania was the only state which did not allow such testimony.

In any sex abuse case, especially cases of child sex abuse, victims often turn to drugs and alcohol. Many suffer from mental illness and many more end up with criminal records. These are all things which affect credibility of a witness in a criminal or civil sex abuse case.

Also, many victims simply don’t know how to end the abuse and will return to the abuser. For example a child who trusts an abuser like a priest, teacher or coach, may continue their relationship with the abuser, even after reaching adulthood.

The reality is that child sex abuse is a very complex kind of abuse, one of, if not, the worst kind. Children not only trust their abuser, they may love, depend, and sometimes worship them. So when the abuser begins the sexual abuse, victims simply don’t know what to do other than continue their relationships with the abuser.

Under the new law, Pennsylvania will now allow experts to explain the credibility issues like drug and alcohol dependency as well as why an abused child, even as an adult, would continue their relationship with the abuser.

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Published: July 25, 2012

 Posted by on July 25, 2012 Sexual Abuse