Governor Christie has signed legislation sponsored by Senator Steven Oroho (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) to expand protections for survivors and witnesses, by removing the age restriction for testifying via closed circuit television (CCTV) in certain sex crime, domestic violence, and child abuse cases.
Gov. Christie has signed Sen. Steven Oroho’s bill to expand protections for survivors and witnesses, by removing the age restriction to testify via closed-circuit-television, also known as CCTV. (©iStock)
Prior to the August 7th signing of Sen. Oroho’s bill, only those 16-years-of-age or younger are permitted to testify via CCTV.
“Allowing more survivors and witnesses of sex crimes to utilize CCTV is critical to reducing the number of cases that go unreported every year,” Senator Oroho said. “Everyone who has endured such a traumatic experience should have the opportunity to testify without fear of retribution. Age shouldn’t stand in the way.”
CCTV is defined as any closed-circuit, videoconferencing or other audio-visual electronic technology capable of producing a simultaneous, one-way broadcast from a survivor or witness to a defendant in a separate physical location.
The technology allows the judge and jury to view their testimony and cross-examination in real time, while excluding that survivor or witness from the traumatic experience of directly hearing or viewing the defendant during the proceedings.
Senator Oroho’s S-1326 permits a survivor or witness of any age to testify via CCTV in certain prosecutions, including domestic violence that coincides with a sexual assault, endangering the welfare of, abusing, or neglecting a child; and human trafficking.
“This law will ensure that the courts treat all survivors and witnesses with the same level of compassion and respect,” Senator Oroho added. “We worked for years on a bipartisan basis to advance this legislation. I hope that it will help more people feel safe enough to come forward, so they can finally get the justice they deserve.”
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