Legislation that will permit expert testimony in court regarding sexual assault victims has been ceremonially signed into law by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett.
House Bill 1264 received unanimous support in the General Assembly and takes effect on Aug. 28.
The new law will allow expert witnesses to testify about a victim’s response and behavior during and after the sexual assault. Criminal justice advocates argue that expert testimony is necessary to provide jurors with the proper context in which to evaluate a victim’s behavior.
Prior to this law’s enactment, Pennsylvania was the only state that did not allow expert testimony in sexual assault cases regarding victims’ behavior.