CHAPTER 158

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 201

AS AMENDED BY HOUSE AMENDMENT NOS. 1, 2 AND 3

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 51, PART III, TITLE 11 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO CRIMINAL PROCEDURE IN THE SUPERIOR COURT; AND PROVIDING FOR A BILL OF RIGHTS FOR CHILDREN WHO ARE REQUIRED TO TESTIFY BEFORE THE COURT, OR WHO ARE OTHERWISE REQUIRED TO PARTICIPATE IN A CRIMINAL TRIAL.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. Amend Chapter 51, Part III, Title 11 of the Delaware Code by adding thereto a new subchapter, designating as Subchapter III, which new subsection shall read as follows:

"SUBCHAPTER III. CHILD VICTIMS AND WITNESSES

§5131. Legislative Intent

The General Assembly finds that it is necessary to provide child victims and witnesses with additional consideration, and different treatment, than that usually required for adults. It is the therefore intent of the General Assembly to provide each child who is involved in a criminal proceeding within the Superior Court with certain fundamental rights and protections.

§5132. Definitions

The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this Chapter, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this Section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

(a) 'Child' shall mean a person who has not yet reached his or her eighteenth birthday.

(b) 'Victim' or 'witness' shall not include any child accuses of committing a felony; provided however, that the words "victim" or "witness" may, In the Court's discretion, include:

(I) a child where such child's participation in a felony appears to have been induced, coerced or unwilling; or

(2) a child which has participated in the felony, but who has subsequently and voluntarily agreed to testify on behalf of the State.

§5133. Expedited Proceedings

In all criminal proceedings in the Superior Court involving a child victim or witness, the Court and the prosecution shall take appropriate action to ensure a prompt trial In order to minimize the length of ime a child victim or witness must endure the stress of his or her involvement in the proceedings. in ruling on any motion or other request for a delay or continuance of proceedings, the Court shall consider and give weight to any adverse impact such delay or continuance might have on the well- being of any child victim or witness.

§5134. Additional Rights and Services

(a) A child victim or witness Is entitled to an explanation, in language understood by the child, of all legal proceedings in which the child is to be involved.

(b) A child victim or witness is entitled to be accompanied, in all proceedings, by a "friend" or other person in whom the child trusts, which person shall be permitted to advise the judge, when appropriate and as a friend of the Court, regarding the child's ability to understand proceedings and questions.

(c) A child victim or witness Is entitled to information about, and referrals to, appropriate social services and programs to assist such child and the child's family, In coping with the emotional impact of the crime, and the subsequent Court proceedings In which the child is to become Involved."

Section 2. This Act shall be known and referred as the "Bill of Rights for Child Victims and Witnesses."

Approved July 12, 1985.