SUBMITTED — The Alabama Coalition Against Rape is pleased to express support for HB496 and SB320 that were introduced this month by the Alabama Legislature. These bills will expand the current definition of “forcible compulsion” and will incorporate well-established case law into other definitions. Additionally, these bills will amend the current child pornography laws to bring them up to date with how images are distributed and change language that could cause a reduction of funding for Alabama provided by the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
“These changes would have a huge impact for survivors of rape and sexual violence in the State of Alabama. The entire body of ACAR wishes to express thanks to Senator Vivian Figures and Representative Christopher J. England for sponsoring and championing these bills,” Kimberly Love, Executive Director, Alabama Coalition Against Rape.
“I was so gratified at all the statewide agencies that participated in crafting this legislation. We at ACAR believe this legislation will help lessen the trauma for victim/survivors of rape and other forms of sexual violence and will make it easier to successfully prosecute sex offenders,” Kathleen Connolly, Policy Manager, Alabama Coalition Against Rape.
HB496 and SB320 would revise Alabama’s laws regarding sex offenses by:
● Expanding the definition of “forcible compulsion” to include threatened use, whether express of implied, of physical force, violence, confinement, restraint, physical injury, or death. Forcible compulsion will no longer require proof of resistance by the victim/survivor.
● Amends the term “deviate sexual intercourse” to “sodomy.”
● Removes the requirement within certain offenses that the victim/survivor be of the opposite gender of the perpetrator.
● Combines the terms “mentally defective,” “mentally incapacitated,” and “physically helpless” into the term “incapacitated.”
● Amends the sexual torture statute to include not only torture with an object, but mutilation, burning, crushing, wounding or assaulting the sex organs or intimate parts of another person.
● States that asking the defendant to use a condom or other birth control device alone without additional evidence of consent, is not sufficient to constitute consent.
● Adds “without his or her consent” to make sodomy consistent with sexual intercourse in the sexual misconduct statute.
● Amends the HIV testing language to prevent a reduction of funding provided from the Violence against Women Act (VAWA).
● Amends the Child Pornography laws to bring them up to date with how images are distributed now, no longer requiring that distribution by for monetary consideration.Updates the definition of “sexual contact” to include touching that occurs through clothing without regard to marital status.
The Alabama Coalition Against Rape encourages Alabamians to contact their state representatives throughout the rest of the 2019 Legislative Session to also show their support of these updates and amendments to the Alabama Sex Offenses Code. They can receive more information about HB496 and SB320 by contacting the ACAR office at 334-264-0123 or by calling their local ACAR member program at 800-656-4673.
The Alabama Coalition Against Rape is a statewide nonprofit organization working to prevent sexual violence in the State of Alabama. Since its inception in 1995, ACAR has utilized its voice to advocate for the rights of countless victims and affect critical change through its active role in public policy, education and training. ACAR member programs offer 24-hour supportive advocacy services to sexual violence victim/survivors in 16 locations across the state.
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