State Rep. Cherelle L. Parker, D-Phila., said providing juries with context in cases of sexual assault is
finally now law in Pennsylvania.
Gov. Tom Corbett signed H.B. 1264 into law as Act 75-2012 Friday.
"I have worked on this issuesince 2006," Parker said. "It is long overdue that we bring somesense of professional context into the legal arena for cases involving sexual
The new law, effective in 60 days, will permit an expert to provide testimony on the counterintuitive behavior
exhibited by victims of sexual assault, as well as any recognized form of post-traumatic stress disorder, and other common psychological reactions to trauma.
"The effort to bring this concept into law has been a rewarding experience," Parker said. "With two
recent high profile cases in Pennsylvania, focus was brought to the unfortunate case law in Pennsylvania, which had prohibited such testimony.
"I appreciate the help and support of people working in victim's rights advocacy and the criminal justice
system to bring this to fruition. Act 75-2012 allows us to move forward in providing victims with the help they need to bring their perpetrators to justice and move on with their lives," Parker said.
"Research shows that victims of sex crimes behave in a number of ways, but because of the myths regarding sex
crimes, jurors perceive some of those behaviors, such as a failure to immediately report the crime, as compelling evidence of a victim's lack of credibility," Parker said. "To overcome these myths, expert testimony has been deemed necessary in order to provide a jury with the proper context to evaluate a victim's behavior."