Following her call yesterday for increased training for New Jersey judges on dealing with sexual assault survivors in their courtrooms, Senator Kristin Corrado will introduce legislation that requires the judiciary to develop and implement such a training program. Additionally, the legislation sets minimum standards to ensure the training is thorough, and requires it to be conducted annually.
Sen. Kristin Corrado will introduce legislating requiring the judiciary to develop and implement a program to train judges on how to deal with sexual assault survivors in their courtrooms. (©iStock)
“We need to ensure that judges and court personnel are better trained about what behavior is appropriate in cases involving allegations of sexual assault,” said Corrado (R-40). “Because whatever training the courts are doing now, it clearly is not working. We still have judges making despicable comments from the bench that may make survivors think twice about pursuing justice.”
Corrado’s action follows recent cases in Middlesex and Monmouth counties, in which judges commented from the bench that the alleged sexual assaults of adolescent girls by teenage boys were not egregious enough to warrant moving the cases to adult criminal court.
In both instances, the judges seemed more concerned with protecting the alleged rapists from future harm than obtaining a just resolution for the survivors.
Corrado’s legislation will require the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) in the judiciary to develop and approve training for Superior Court and municipal court judges and judicial personnel on the handling, investigation, and response procedures concerning cases with allegations of sexual assault.
Similar training is already required for domestic violence.
Further, the legislation will set a minimum requirement of three hours of training on the handling of both sexual assault and domestic violence cases, and require that it be refreshed at annual in-service training sessions.
No such minimum currently exists for the domestic violence training.
“We’re going to make sure that judges get the training they need to treat the survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault with the respect they deserve,” added Corrado. “By legislating these requirements, we guarantee they become a permanent part of the training regimen that judges must go through on a continuing basis.”
Corrado serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
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