HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives approved a measure crafted by Rep. Meghan Schroeder (R-Bucks), to permit expert testifiers regarding sexual and domestic violence to testify in human trafficking cases.
“This will strengthen the ability of prosecutors to combat sexual violence, domestic violence and human trafficking by allowing expert testimony on the dynamics of victim behavior,” Schroeder said. “Expert testimony is critical in these types of cases as it assists in understanding the complex nature of victim behavior, including the reasons victims often refrain from reporting their experiences to law enforcement and continue to remain in contact with their abuser.”
“Many times, in these types of cases, we see grooming by the offender and this expert insight would help a jury understand the mental impacts to the victim,” Schroeder added.
House Bill 580
, introduced by Schroeder in 2019 as House Bill 2175, would expand the list of offenses where an expert may testify about the dynamics of sexual violence and victim responses to sexual violence.
This legislation is among a package of bills Schroeder has co-sponsored aimed to combat human trafficking in Pennsylvania. The package of human trafficking bills is intended to protect victim privacy, guarantee their safety and make it safer for them to testify against their abusers.
The state Senate will now consider House Bill 580.
Representative Meghan Schroeder
29th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Rene Morrow