H.R.4688 - Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990101st Congress (1989-1990)
|Sponsor:||Rep. Levine, Mel [D-CA-27] (Introduced 05/01/1990)|
|Committees:||House - Judiciary|
|Latest Action:||House - 05/17/1990 Referred to the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice. (All Actions)|
This bill has the status Introduced
Here are the steps for Status of Legislation:
Text: H.R.4688 — 101st Congress (1989-1990)All Information (Except Text)
There is one version of the bill.
Text available as:
- This text predates authenticated digital publishing. It may be incomplete.
Introduced in House
HR 4688 IH 101st CONGRESS 2d Session H. R. 4688 To protect the rights of victims of crime, establish a Federal victims' bill of rights for children, and improve the response of the criminal justice system and related agencies to incidents of child abuse. IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES May 1, 1990 Mr. LEVINE of California (for himself, Mr. BRYANT, Mr. SMITH of Florida, Mr. FAZIO, Mr. MRAZEK, and Mr. SANGMEISTER) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary A BILL To protect the rights of victims of crime, establish a Federal victims' bill of rights for children, and improve the response of the criminal justice system and related agencies to incidents of child abuse. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the `Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990'. TITLE I--CHILD ABUSE OFFENSE SEC. 101. CHILD ABUSE OFFENSE. Pursuant to its authority under section 994(p) of title 28, United States Code, and section 21 of the Sentencing Act of 1987 (28 U.S.C. 994 note), the United States Sentencing Commission shall promulgate guidelines, or shall amend existing guidelines, to provide that a defendant convicted of any sexual offense, or any crime of violence, in which a victim was a person under the age of 14 years, shall receive a sentence at an offense level 2 levels higher than the offense level that obtains when no victim was a person under the age of 14 years. TITLE II--IMPROVING INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION OF CHILD ABUSE CASES SEC. 201. GRANTS FOR MULTIDISCIPLINARY PROGRAMS. (a) IN GENERAL- The Administrator of the Office for the Victims of Crime, in consultation with officials of the Department of Health and Human Services, may make grants to develop and implement multidisciplinary child abuse investigation and prosecution programs. (b) GRANT CRITERIA- (1) The Administrator shall establish the criteria to be used in evaluating applications for grants under this section. (2) In general, the grant criteria established pursuant to paragraph (1) shall require that a program include one or more of the following elements: (A) Written agreements between local law enforcement, criminal justice, social service, health, and other related agencies to coordinate child abuse investigation, prosecution, treatment, and counseling services. (B) Identification of an appropriate site or sites for referring, interviewing, treating, and counseling child victims of sexual abuse and serious physical abuse and neglect. (C) Referral of all child sexual abuse and serious physical abuse and neglect cases to the appropriate law enforcement agency not later than 24 hours after notification of an incident of abuse. (D) Joint initial investigative interviews of child victims by specially trained personnel from the involved law enforcement, criminal justice, health and social service agencies. (E) A requirement that, to the extent practicable, the same agency representative who conducts an initial investigative interview of a child victim conduct all subsequent interviews of that child. (F) Coordination of each step of the investigation process to minimize the number of interviews that a child victim must attend. (G) Provision for regular meetings of the professionals and agencies involved in child abuse intervention. (H) Assignment of a volunteer or staff advocate to each child in order to assist the child and, when appropriate, the child's family, throughout each step of the judicial proceedings. (I) Such other requirements as the Administrator shall establish by regulation. (c) DISTRIBUTION OF GRANTS- In awarding grants under this section, the Administrator shall ensure that grants are distributed to both large and small sites, and to rural, suburban, and urban jurisdictions. SEC. 202. GRANTS FOR SPECIALIZED TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AND TRAINING PROGRAMS. (a) IN GENERAL- The Administrator of the Office for Victims of Crime shall make grants to national organizations to provide technical assistance and training to attorneys and others instrumental to the criminal prosecution of child abuse cases in State or Federal courts, for the purpose of improving the quality of investigation and criminal prosecution of such cases. (b) GRANTEE ORGANIZATIONS- Any organization to which a grant is made pursuant to subsection (a) shall be one that has, or is affiliated with one that has, broad membership among attorneys who prosecute criminal cases in State courts and has demonstrated experience in providing training and technical assistance for prosecutors. (c) GRANT CRITERIA- (1) The Administrator shall establish the criteria to be used for evaluating applications for grants under this section. (2) In general, the grant criteria established pursuant to paragraph (1) shall require that a program provide training and technical assistance which includes information regarding improved child interview techniques, thorough investigative methods, interagency coordination, and effective presentation of evidence in court. SEC. 203. AUTHORIZATIONS OF APPROPRIATIONS. There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this title-- (1) $15,000,000 for fiscal year 1990; and (2) such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 1991, 1992, and 1993. TITLE III--COURT APPOINTED SPECIAL ADVOCATE PROGRAM SEC. 301. STRENGTHENING COURT-APPOINTED SPECIAL ADVOCATE PROGRAM. (a) IN GENERAL- The Administrator of the Office for the Victims of Crime may make grants to expand the court-appointed special advocate program. (b) GRANT CRITERIA- (1) The Administrator shall establish the criteria to be used in evaluating applications for grants under this section. (2) In general, the grant criteria established pursuant to paragraph (1) shall require that a program provide screening, training, and supervision of court-appointed special advocates in accordance with guidelines developed by the National Court-Appointed Special Advocate Association. SEC. 302. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS. There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this title-- (1) $5,000,000 for fiscal year 1990; and (2) such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 1991, 1992, and 1993. TITLE IV--CHILD ABUSE TRAINING PROGRAMS FOR JUDICIAL PERSONNEL AND PRACTITIONERS SEC. 401. GRANTS FOR JUVENILE AND FAMILY COURT PERSONNEL. The Administrator of the Office for the Victims of Crime may make grants to provide technical assistance and training to judicial personnel and attorneys, particularly personnel and practitioners in juvenile and family courts, to improve the judicial system's handling of child abuse and neglect cases. SEC. 402. SPECIALIZED TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AND TRAINING PROGRAMS. (a) GRANTS TO DEVELOP MODEL PROGRAMS- (1) The Administrator shall make grants to organizations to provide model technical assistance and training programs to improve the judicial system's handling of child abuse and neglect cases. (2) Any organization to which a grant is made pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be one that has demonstrated experience in providing training and technical assistance for judges, attorneys, child welfare personnel, or lay child advocates, in particular for juvenile and family courts. (b) GRANTS TO JUVENILE AND FAMILY COURTS- (1) The Administrator may make grants to or for juvenile and family courts and State judicial systems for programs that implement model child abuse and neglect programs. (2) In general, the grant criteria established pursuant to paragraph (1) shall give priority to programs which improve-- (A) procedures for determining whether child service agencies have made reasonable efforts to prevent placement of children in foster care; (B) procedures for determining whether children at imminent risk of placement in foster care to child service agencies can be safely maintained at home with appropriate, intensive services, characterized by small caseloads, 24-hour, 7-day availability, primary delivery in the child's home with a demonstrated ability to protect children; (C) procedures for determining whether child service agencies have, after placement of children in foster care, made reasonable efforts to reunite the family; and (D) procedures for coordinating information and services among health professionals, school personnel, social workers, law enforcement professionals, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and juvenile and family courts personnel. SEC. 403. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS. (a) IN GENERAL- There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this title-- (1) $10,000,000 for fiscal year 1990; and (2) such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 1991, 1992, and 1993. (b) USE OF FUNDS- Of the amounts appropriated in subsection (a), no less than 80 percent shall be used for grants under section 402(b). TITLE V--NATIONAL COMMISSION TO IMPROVE DOMESTIC RELATIONS COURTS SEC. 501. ESTABLISHMENT. There is established a commission to be known as the National Commission to Improve Domestic Relations Court (hereinafter in this title referred to as the `Commission'). SEC. 502. DUTIES OF COMMISSION. The Commission-- (1) shall develop suggestions to improve domestic relations courts, with special attention to ways in which allegations of child abuse and neglect are handled within the State domestic relations court system; (2) shall suggest whether the development of new model State legislation is needed in order to facilitate the solutions recommended by the Commission; and (3) shall identify the barriers to the nationwide use of specialized, comprehensive family court systems in which all matters affecting the custody and status of children are heard in one court, rather than the fragmented court system that now exists in many States. SEC. 503. MEMBERSHIP. (a) NUMBER AND APPOINTMENT- The Commission shall be composed of 20 members 10 appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and 10 appointed by the Attorney General. The Attorney General shall make such appointments not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act. (b) QUALIFICATIONS- Each member of the Commission shall be a person with recognized experience in, or substantial knowledge about, the operation of domestic relations courts. The membership of the Commission shall include representatives of the following: (1) Justices of the highest courts of the States. (2) Domestic relations court judges. (3) Family mediators. (4) Family therapists. (5) Mental health professionals who provide independent evaluations for domestic relations judges. (6) Family law practitioners. (7) Representatives of national judicial organizations concerned with domestic relations court improvement. (8) Representatives of national legal organizations concerned with domestic relations court improvement. (9) Representatives of national organizations concerned with the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect. (10) Social services professionals at the State or local level with substantial involvement in child abuse and neglect issues. (11) Domestic relations court administrators. (12) Law school family law professors. (13) Members of both parent and child advocacy groups. (14) Staff representatives from the Federal Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, and the State Justice Institute. (c) TERMS- Members shall be appointed for the life of the Commission. (d) BASIC PAY- (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), members of the Commission shall serve without pay. (2) Members of the Commission who are full-time officers or employees of the United States shall receive no additional pay, allowances, or benefits by reason of their service on the Commission. (e) QUORUM- 11 members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum, but 7 may hold hearings. (f) CHAIRMAN- The Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Commission shall be elected by the members of the Commission. (g) MEETINGS- The Commission shall meet at least 4 times during the life of the Commission, at the call of the Chairman or a majority of its members. SEC. 504. DIRECTOR AND STAFF OF COMMISSION. (a) DIRECTOR- The Commission shall have a Director who shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House and who shall be paid at the rate of basic pay payable for level V of the Executive Schedule. (b) STAFF- Subject to such rules as may be prescribed by the Commission, the Director may appoint and fix the pay of such additional personnel as the Director considers appropriate. (c) APPLICABILITY OF CERTAIN CIVIL SERVICE LAWS- The Director and staff of the Commission may be appointed without regard to the provisions of title 5, United States Code, governing appointments in the competitive service, and may be paid without regard to the provisions of chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of such title relating to classification and General Schedule pay rates, except that no individual so appointed may receive pay in excess of the annual rate of basic pay payable for GS-18 of the General Schedule. SEC. 505. POWERS OF COMMISSION. (a) HEARINGS AND SESSIONS- The Commission may, for the purpose of carrying out this Act, hold such hearings, sit and act at such times and places, take such testimony, and receive such evidence, as the Commission considers appropriate. At least 3 meetings shall be held outside the Washington, D.C. area. The final meeting of the Commission, which shall occur after the submission of its report under this title, shall be a national dissemination conference for which invitations shall be extended to representatives of each of the State court systems. (b) POWERS OF MEMBERS AND AGENTS- Any member or agent of the Commission may, if so authorized by the Commission, take any action which the Commission is authorized to take by this section. (c) ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT SERVICES- The Administrator of General Services shall provide to the Commission on a reimbursable basis such administrative support services as the Commission may request. SEC. 506. REPORT. The Commission shall transmit to the Attorney General a report not later than one year after the first meeting of the Commission. The report shall contain a detailed statement of the findings and conclusions of the Commission, together with its recommendations for such Federal, State and local legislation and administrative actions as it considers appropriate. SEC. 507. TERMINATION. The Commission shall cease to exist after submitting its final report pursuant to section 506. SEC. 508. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS. There is authorized to be appropriated, $500,000 for fiscal year 1990 and $500,000 for fiscal year 1991 to carry out this title. TITLE VI--FEDERAL VICTIMS' SERVICES, PROTECTIONS, AND RIGHTS SEC. 601. COMPLIANCE EVALUATION AND REPORT. (a) EVALUATION SYSTEM- The Attorney General shall establish an evaluation system to rate law enforcement officers on their compliance with the Victim and Witness Protection Act of 1982, the Victims of Crime Act of 1984, and other laws protecting victims of crime, including victims who are children. (b) FEDERAL STANDARDS- The Attorney General shall use the evaluation system established under this section to create a set of standards to-- (1) govern services to victims and witnesses in Federal cases; and (2) serve as a model to States and localities. (c) REPORT- The Office for Victims of Crime shall report not less than once each year to the public, the Congress, and the President on-- (1) the protection of victims generally; and (2) compliance with the Federal standards created under subsection (b), specifically. (d) DEFINITION- As used in this section, the term `law enforcement officer' means an officer or employee of the Federal Government, or a person authorized to act for or on behalf of the Federal Government or serving the Federal Government as an adviser or consultant. SEC. 602. SPECIAL PROCEDURES APPLICABLE TO CHILD VICTIM WITNESSES AND VICTIMS IN CRIMINAL CASES. (a) IN GENERAL- Chapter 223 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following: `Sec. 3509. Special procedures applicable to child witnesses and victims `(a) GUARDIAN AD LITEM- `(1) IN GENERAL- The court may, where appropriate, appoint a guardian ad litem at the earliest possible stage of all criminal proceedings where a child was a victim of a crime involving abuse or exploitation to protect the best interests of the child. In making the appointment, the court shall consider the person's background in, and familiarity with, the judicial process, social service programs and child abuse issues. The guardian shall not be a person who is or may be a witness in any proceeding associated with the alleged offense. `(2) DUTIES OF GUARDIAN- The guardian may attend all the depositions, hearings and trial proceedings, and make recommendations to the court. The guardian may have access to all reports, evaluations and records, except attorney's work product, necessary to carry out the guardian's duties. The guardian shall marshal and coordinate the delivery of available resources and special services to the child. The guardian may assert claims to privilege or confidentiality on behalf of the child. The guardian shall not be compelled to testify in any court action or proceeding about any information or opinion received from or about the child in the course of serving as a guardian. `(3) IMMUNITIES- The guardian shall be immune from civil and criminal liability for carrying out lawful duties in good faith. `(b) CHILD ATTENDANT- A child testifying at a criminal proceeding shall have the right to be accompanied by an adult to provide emotional support to the child. The court, at its discretion, may allow the attending adult to remain in close physical proximity to or in contact with the child while the child testifies. The attending adult shall not provide the child with an answer to any question directed toward the child during the course of the child's testimony or otherwise prompt the child. `(c) ALTERNATIVES TO LIVE IN-COURT TESTIMONY- `(1) GENERALLY- The court may order, upon application by the prosecution, that-- `(A) the child and the defendant shall be in separate rooms from each other and their testimony televised by two-way closed circuit television; or `(B) a deposition be taken of the child's testimony and that deposition be recorded and preserved on videotape. `(2) CRITERIA FOR ISSUING ORDER- The court may issue an order under paragraph (1) if-- `(A) the person seeking such an order applies for such an order with reasonable notice to opposing parties before or during the trial; and `(B) the court finds it necessary, based on a finding by clear and convincing evidence of one or more of the factors listed in subparagraph (C). `(3) FACTORS- The factors referred to in paragraph (2) are: `(A) The child would be so intimidated, or otherwise inhibited, by the physical presence of the defendant that the child would be rendered incompetent or unable to testify. A finding of this factor must be based on specific conduct of the defendant that involves threats or violence against the child victim, or on the violent nature of the alleged offense. `(B) Substantial likelihood that the child will suffer serious emotional trauma from testifying in the same room as the defendant. `(C) Conduct on the part of the defendant or defense counsel during the hearing or trial which causes the child to be unable to continue the child's testimony. `(4) REQUIREMENT OF EXPERT WITNESS- Only a finding based on a factor under paragraph (3)(B) must be supported by expert testimony, unless, during the course of the child's testimony, the child exhibits behavior that to the court's satisfaction sufficiently supports such a finding without the use of expert testimony. `(5) QUESTIONING OF CHILD BY COURT- In determining whether the impact on an individual child of one or more of the factors described in paragraph (3) is so substantial as to justify an order under paragraph (1), the court may question the minor in chambers, or at some other comfortable place other than the courtroom, on the record for a reasonable period of time with the child attendant, the prosecutor, and the defense counsel present. The defendant shall not be present. At the discretion of the court, the court shall conduct the questioning of the child and may not permit the prosecutor or defense counsel to examine the child. The prosecutor and defense counsel may be permitted to submit proposed questions to the court before the session in chambers. Defense counsel shall be afforded a reasonable opportunity to consult with the defendant or defendants before the conclusion of the session in chambers. `(6) PROCEDURES AT TIME OF CHILD'S LIVE TESTIMONY BY TWO-WAY CLOSED CIRCUIT TELEVISION- `(A) WHO PRESENT- At the discretion of the court, the prosecuting attorney and the defense attorney may be present in the room with the child and the child shall be subject to direct and cross-examination. The only other persons allowed to be present in the room with the child during the child's testimony are the child's attorney or guardian ad litem, or both, the child attendant, those persons necessary to operate the closed-circuit equipment and any other person whose presence is determined by the court to be necessary to the welfare and well-being of the child. `(B) TRANSMISSION- The child's testimony shall be transmitted by closed circuit television into the courtroom for the defendant, jury, judge and public view. The defendant shall be provided with the means of private, contemporaneous communication with the defendant's attorney during the testimony. The closed circuit television transmission shall display an image of the defendant 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. `(C) IMAGE OF CHILD ATTENDANT TO BE RECORDED- A videotape shall record the image of the child attendant. `(7) PROCEDURES AT TIME OF VIDEOTAPED DEPOSITIONS OF CHILD WITNESSES- `(A) JUDGE TO PRESIDE- The trial judge shall preside at the videotape proceeding and shall rule on all questions as if at trial. Subject to subparagraph (B) of this paragraph, the only other persons who may be present at the proceeding are the operator of the recording equipment, the attorney for the prosecution, the defendant, the defendant's attorney, the attorney or guardian ad litem for the child, and any other person whose presence is determined by the court to be necessary to the welfare and well-being of the child during the child's testimony. The defendant shall be afforded the rights applicable to defendants during trial, including the right to an attorney and the right to cross-examine the child. `(B) PRESENCE OF DEFENDANT- If the order for videotaping is based upon evidence that the child is unable to testify in the physical presence of the defendant, the court may order that the defendant be excluded from the room in which the deposition is being conducted. If the court orders that the defendant be excluded from the deposition room, it shall order that two-way closed circuit television equipment 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. The defendant shall also be provided with a means of private, contemporaneous communication with the defendant's attorney during the deposition. `(8) HANDLING OF VIDEOTAPE- The complete record of the examination of the child, including the image and voices of all persons who in any way participate in the examination, shall be made and preserved on video tape in addition to being stenographically recorded. The videotape shall be transmitted to the clerk of the court in which the action is pending and shall be made available for viewing to the prosecuting attorney, the defendant, and the defendant's attorney during ordinary business hours. `(9) PROTECTIVE ORDER- Any videotape which is taken under this rule is subject to a protective order of the court for the purpose of protecting the privacy of the child. `(d) AGE APPROPRIATE QUESTIONS- With a child witness, the court shall take special care to protect the witness from undue harassment or embarrassment, and restrict the unnecessary repetition of questions. The court shall also take special care to ensure that questions are stated in a form which is appropriate to the age of the witness. The court shall, in the interests of justice, on objection by a party, forbid the asking of a question which is in a form that is not reasonably likely to be understood by a person of the age of the witness. `(e) TESTIMONIAL AIDS- The court may permit the child to use anatomical dolls, puppets, drawings, mannequins, or any other demonstrative device the court deems appropriate for the purpose of assisting a child in testifying. `(f) COMPETENCY EXAMINATIONS- `(1) EFFECT OF FEDERAL RULES OF EVIDENCE- Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to abrogate rule 601 of the Federal Rules of Evidence. `(2) REQUIREMENT OF COMPELLING REASONS- A child competency hearing may only be conducted if the court determines, on the record, that compelling reasons exist. The child's age alone is not a compelling reason. `(3) PERSONS PRESENT- Only the judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, court reporter and any other person whose presence, in the opinion of the court, would contribute to the welfare and well-being of the child, may be present at the hearing. `(4) COMPETENCY OF WITNESS- Psychological and psychiatric examinations to assess the competency of child witnesses shall not be ordered by the court without a showing of compelling need. `(g) PRIVACY AND ADDRESS PROTECTION- The name of, or other identifying information about, the child victim or child witness shall not be released except as authorized by the court. The name and any identifying information shall not appear in the information, indictment, or any other public record. Instead a nondescriptive designation shall appear in all public records. Whoever violates this subsection shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both. This subsection does not prevent the release of such information to the accused or the accused's counsel. `(h) CLOSING THE COURTROOM- When the child testifies the court may exclude from the courtroom all persons, including the media, who do not have a direct interest in the case. This procedure may only be used if the court determines on the record that the child's testimony under traditional courtroom procedures would cause substantial psychological harm to the child or would result in the child's inability to communicate effectively, and the closure is narrowly tailored to serve the Government's specific compelling interest. `(i) VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENT- A child victim or witness has the same right to submit victim impact statements before sentencing as an adult victim or witness has under rule 32(c) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. `(j) SPEEDY TRIAL- Upon motion by the prosecutor, the guardian ad litem, or on its own motion, the court may designate the case as being of special public importance. In cases so designated, the presiding judge shall, consistent with the rules of criminal procedure, expedite the action and ensure that it takes precedence over any other. The court shall ensure a speedy trial in order to minimize the length of time the child must endure the stress of involvement with the judicial process. In cases in which the judge is deciding whether or not to grant a continuance, the judge shall take into consideration the age of the child and the potential adverse impact the delay may have on the child's well-being. The court shall make written findings of fact and conclusions of law when granting a continuance. `(k) DEFINITION OF CHILD- As used in this section the term `child' means an individual under the age of 14 years and includes an individual up to age 18 who has been documented by the appropriate professionals to be of a developmental age less than 14 years.'. (b) CONFORMING AMENDMENT TO RULES OF EVIDENCE- Rule 804(a)(4) of the Rules of Evidence is amended by inserting `(including in the case of a child declarant the condition described in section 3509(c)(3)(B) of title 18, United States Code)' after `infirmity'. (c) CLERICAL AMENDMENT- The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 223 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following: `3509. Special procedures applicable to child witnesses.'. SEC. 603. STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS IN CASES RELATING TO CHILDREN. (a) IN GENERAL- Chapter 213 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following: `Sec. 3293. Extension of child statute of limitations `Any statute of limitation that would otherwise preclude prosecution for an offense involving the sexual or physical abuse of a child under the age of 18 years shall not take effect until the child reaches the age of 20 years.'. (b) CLERICAL AMENDMENT- The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 213 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following: `3293. Extension of child statute of limitations.'.