Summary: H.R.3958 — 101st Congress (1989-1990)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.3958. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (02/06/1990)

Federal Victim's Service and Protection Act of 1990 - Title I: Federal Victim's Services and Protections Compliance - Directs the Attorney General to: (1) establish an evaluation system for law enforcement officers which rates such officers on their compliance with specified laws protecting victims of crimes; and (2) use such evaluation system to create standards governing services to victims and witnesses in Federal cases and to serve as a model to States and localities. Requires the Office for Victims of Crime to report periodically to the public, the Congress, and the President on victim protections and on compliance with this Act.

Title II: The Federal Child Victim's Bill of Rights - Amends the Federal criminal code to require the court, at the earliest possible stage, to determine whether the appointment of a guardian ad litem for a child who is an alleged victim or witness in a criminal proceeding would be in the best interests of the child and if so, to appoint such guardian. Sets forth provisions with respect to the qualifications, duties and powers, and immunity of such guardian.

Grants a child testifying at a criminal proceeding the right to be accompanied by an adult.

Authorizes the court to order that a child's testimony be taken by closed-circuit television (TV) if it finds that the child is unable to testify in open court because of: (1) the child's persistent refusal to testify despite judicial requests to do so; (2) the child's total inability to communicate about the offense because of extreme fear, failure of memory, or other similar reasons; or (3) the substantial likelihood that the child will suffer substantial emotional trauma from so testifying.

Specifies that the prosecuting attorney and the defense attorney shall be present in the room with the child and the child shall be subject to direct and cross-examination.

Requires that: (1) the child's testimony be transmitted by closed-circuit TV into the courtroom; (2) the defendant be provided with the means of private, contemporaneous communication with his attorney during the testimony; and (3) the closed-circuit TV transmission relay the defendant's image into the room in which the child is testifying, and the child's testimony into the room in which the defendant is viewing the proceeding.

Sets forth provisions with respect to videotaped depositions of child victims and child witnesses.

Authorizes the court to permit the child to use anatomical dolls, puppets, drawings, or any other demonstrative device it deems appropriate to assist a child in testifying.

Sets forth requirements with respect to competency examinations for child witnesses.

Prohibits: (1) the release to the public of the name, or other identifying information about the child victim or child witness except as authorized by the court; and (2) the name and any identifying information from appearing in any public record.

Grants the child victim or witness the same right to submit victim impact statements prior to sentencing as prescribed for an adult victim. Directs that child victims or witnesses be assisted by their court appointed guardian ad litem in preparing victim impact statements.

Authorizes the court, in any proceeding where a child is called to give testimony, to designate the case as being of special public importance and to expedite the action. Requires the court to ensure a speedy trial and, in deciding whether or not to grant a continuance, to take into account the child's age and the potential adverse impact the delay may have on the child's well-being.

Creates a hearsay exception for an out-of-court statement related to sexual abuse, physical abuse, or sexual exploitation of that or another child if the court finds that: (1) the statement possesses particularized guarantees of trustworthiness; (2) the proponent of the statement has given sufficient notice to adverse parties of the intent to introduce the statement; and (3) there is corroborative evidence of the statement or the truth of the statement.

Encourages the use of multidisciplinary teams designed to assist child victims or child witnesses. Delineates the role of such teams.

Specifies that there shall be no statute of limitations for the prosecution of any child physical abuse, sexual abuse, or sexual exploitation offense.

Requires physicians, social workers, teachers, and specified other individuals who, while involved in any such capacities on Federal land or in a federally operated (or contracted) facility, have reason to suspect that a child is an abused or neglected child to immediately report to the appropriate authorities. Grants civil and criminal immunity to individuals who, acting in good faith, make such a report or otherwise provide information or assistance with a report investigation, or legal intervention. Makes failure to report a misdemeanor.

Makes spousal privileges and the privileged nature of any communications between physician (or psychotherapist, psychologist, social worker, and any other health care provider) and patient inapplicable in any criminal proceeding after a report of child abuse, neglect, or sexual exploitation.

Title III: Child Care Worker Employee Background Check - Requires: (1) each Federal agency and facility that hires, or contracts for hire, individuals involved with the provision of services to children under age 18 to assure that all existing and newly-hired employees undergo a criminal history background check; and (2) all existing staff to receive such checks within six months and prohibits the hiring of additional staff without a check having been initiated.

Sets forth procedures with respect to the conduct of such background checks.

Specifies that: (1) any conviction for a sex crime, an offense involving a child victim, or a drug offense shall be grounds for denying employment or for dismissal of an employee engaged in specified child care services; (2) an incident in which an individual has been charged, but where the charge has not yet been disposed of, shall permit the employee's suspension from any job-related contact with children until the case is resolved; and (3) convictions of other crimes may be considered if they bear on an individual's fitness to have responsibility for the safety and well-being of children.

Sets forth requirements with respect to questions to be asked in employment applications, criminal history records checks, and access to (and the right to challenge the accuracy of) the criminal history report.