Schlossberg continues efforts to help sexual assault victims

HARRISBURG, May 17 – In an effort to help protect the rights of victims of sexual assault, state Rep. Mike Schlossberg plans to introduce legislation related to challenges faced by victims of sexual assault.

The first bill would address an issue related to parental rights.

Current adoption law requires that when a parent of a child conceived by rape or incest seeks to terminate parental rights of the other parent, a third person must be willing to adopt the child. Schlossberg’s legislation would remove that requirement in the cases where the child is the product of rape or incest.

“I firmly believe, based on their commitment to past issues, that many of my colleagues from both sides of the aisle recognize that Pennsylvania’s adoption law and our justice system should help rape survivors and empower them to better protect their children and themselves," said Schlossberg, D-Lehigh. “This legislation is another step in working toward that end.”

The second bill would require health care facilities to inform victims of their rights under the Sexual Assault Testing and Evidence Collection Act of 2006.

This proposal would provide sexual assault victims and their families various rights not covered by the Crime Victims Act of 1998, including the right to disclosure of information about the submission of evidence, status of analysis, requests to compare DNA profiles recovered to DNA profiles stored in the national or state databases, and any discovery of matches from evidence submission.

“Again, protecting the victims of rape is a crucial duty of the commonwealth, and I believe this bill will allow us to better do that," Schlossberg said.