Legislation sponsored by Bartels protecting young victims advances to governor
Legislation sponsored by State Rep. Stephen Bartels (R-Eckerty) to protect the privacy of young victims could soon become law.
Bartels said the legislation, which now awaits the governor’s signature, would remove underage victims’ names from police logs unless consent is given by a parent or guardian. Current law only omits the names of minor victims involved in a sex crime or sex trafficking case and this legislation would extend those same protections to all victims under the age of 18.
“When young victims see their names reported on TV or in the newspaper, it can cause them to relive the traumatic experience of the crime,” Bartels said. “These kids and their families have already been through enough and they should not have to deal with it publicly if they choose not to. This bill is for those who cannot control the circumstances they have been put in and hopefully provide them with some relief during challenging times.”
Underage victim names would still be released if ordered by a court under the rules of discovery and information can still be disclosed to the Indiana Department of Child Services.
According to Bartels, this legislation would give victims and their families the power to decide if their names would be released publicly and protect them from potentially being harassed.
“There are many reasons why young victims would not want their name publicly released, such as unwanted media attention or embarrassment from classmates at school,” Bartels said. “Once something is reported or released, it can often be found online forever. Young victims should have the choice to preserve their privacy.”