Assemblywoman Catharine Baker (R-San Ramon) announced Governor Brown has signed her Assembly Bill 993. This measure will expand the use of video testimony options for young children who are victims of heinous sex crimes, so they will not have to repeatedly relive trauma of the crime during court prosecution of the abuser.
Victims who are 15 years or younger or developmentally disabled have the ability to provide video and stenographic testimony in court in certain cases of sex abuse crimes. There are, however, specific crimes against minors where video and stenographic testimony is not allowed. Victims of aggravated sexual assault who are less than 14 years of age, and victims of unlawful sexual intercourse, sodomy, sexual penetration, and oral copulation under the age of 10 currently do not have the ability to request a video and stenographic testimony method when the abusers are prosecuted. As a result, children who are victims to horrible sex crimes must relive the trauma of the crime at each stage of prosecution to hold their abuser accountable.
More psychological harm can be done to a child when the child is required to testify in a room full of strangers and to recall traumatic events again and again. AB 993 will ensure that children victims do not have to relive these traumatic events, but can have the option of videotaping their testimony once.
“This bill helps children who have suffered horrible abuse. They deserve our protection, and this bill will relieve further suffering and trauma,” said Baker.
AB 993 was sponsored by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office and supported by CA District Attorneys Association, Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, Children’s Advocacy Centers of CA, Child Abuse Prevention Council of Contra Costa County, Crime Victims United, LA County District Attorney’s Office, Moraga Police Department, Police Chiefs Association, and San Diego County District Attorney’s Office. This bill received unanimous, bipartisan support in both the Senate and Assembly prior to receiving the Governor’s signature.
Baker represents the 16th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Alamo, Danville, Dublin, Lafayette, Livermore, Moraga, Orinda, Pleasanton, San Ramon, and Walnut Creek.