November 1, 2014

Bill gives guiding hand to abuse victims

There is a bill at the Capitol that would grant sex assault and domestic abuse victims in the Wisconsin, the right to be accompanied by a victim advocate. A supporter of the measure says criminal justice proceedings can be taxing and tough to navigate for a traumatized victim.

“We know that having an advocate there helps them stick with the process,” says John Keckhaver, a lobbyist for the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault. “It results in more charges being filed and eventually more cases being brought and more sex offenders being put behind bars.”

There are 48 sexual assault service providers across Wisconsin, according to a statement from Assembly Assistant Majority Leader Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna) and Representative Scott Krug (R-Rome) who are sponsoring the bill.

Keckhaver says, currently, a victim’s access to these advocates is largely dependent on local law enforcement’s relationship with providers or the authorities’ knowledge of the resource.

The legislation is being circulated for co-sponsors and is expected to be introduced next week.

AUDIO: Brian Moon reports (1:02)