STATEHOUSE (Feb. 7, 2019) — A bill authored by State Sen. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper) that would increase protections for victims of abuse in Indiana recently passed the Senate Committee on Corrections and Criminal Law unanimously.
Senate Bill 551 would:
• Expand the rights of domestic violence and child abuse victims;
• Protect the community from sex offenders and violent abusers;
• Prohibit Department of Child Services from releasing information on minor fatality if there is an ongoing investigation;
• Allow a child victim to bring a comfort item, such as a stuffed animal or a specially trained dog, to court during testimony; and
• Restrict the disclosure of sensitive information about a child victim and defendant during a criminal investigation or prosecution.
SB 551 would also address several loopholes in current law to better protect young Hoosiers from predators. This would include allowing a restraining order to be issues against an adult engaged in the grooming of a child for sex.
“We’ve got to do a better job protecting Hoosiers who have been through traumatic abuse experiences,” Messmer said. “SB 551 would improve how we support victims as well as guarantee offenders are punished for their actions.”
The Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council, which represents county prosecutors across the state, supports this legislation.
SB 551 will now move to the full Senate.
For a high-resolution photo of Messmer, click here.