Legislation sponsored by Senator Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) to protect a greater number of victims by making certain modifications to the “Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act of 2015” has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee.
S-2601 would ensure New Jersey law recognizes and provides for the enforcement of protective orders originating from other states.
“23 other states have passed laws similar to my ‘Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act,’ which has already started helping people,” Senator Beck said. “This bill will enable us to protect even more survivors, by extending the Act’s protections to apply to people who have obtained protective orders in other states.”
Senator Beck was a prime sponsor of the “Sexual Assault Survivors Protection Act” (SASPA). The law went into effect in May of 2016. SASPA permits victims of nonconsensual sexual contact, sexual penetration, lewdness, or attempts of such acts to apply for a temporary protective order with the Superior Court.
This law specifically applies to cases in which the victim does not have a domestic relationship with the perpetrator and if he or she decides not to file a criminal complaint. If a victim is under 18 years old, has a developmental disability, a mental illness or defect that impairs their ability in providing consent, the court allows a parent or guardian to file an application on their behalf.
Senator Beck’s bill would amend SASPA to prevent a parent who reports that their child has been sexually assaulted by another parent from using it to avoid criminal charges against the offending-parent. Rather, the reporting-parent must report the incident of sexual assault to the Division of Child Protection and Permanency for investigation and possible legal action under applicable existing law.
“These modifications will ensure that the Sexual Assault Survivors Protection Act is not being used in a manner that goes against the core mission of the bill – to protect survivors from being further victimized by their abuser,” Senator Beck said. “By making this change, we can also ensure appropriate action is taken when a child is in danger of being sexually assaulted by a parent.”