(Note: Kandit, as part of our focus on efforts to strengthen criminal justice against sex crimes and crimes of violence, will be covering the public hearing on these bills live beginning 9 a.m., Wednesday, April 6.)
The following is a news release from the Office of Sen. Mary Camacho Torres:
Lawmakers will soon hear a trio of bills to enhance protections for victims of violence and crack down on perpetrators who exploit the vulnerable. The Legislature’s Committee on Health, Land, Justice, and Culture will hold a virtual Public Hearing for Bill Nos. 242, 243, and 244 next Wednesday, April 6th, beginning at 9:00AM.
The bipartisan package was introduced by Senator Mary Camacho Torres and cosponsored by twelve senators.
Bill No. 242-36 (LS) would free victims of family violence from having their cell phone numbers controlled by their abusers. Under the bill, victims can opt out of a shared plan without fees or penalty. The opt-out request must be submitted in writing along with a valid police report, an order of protection, or a signed affidavit from a licensed medical or mental healthcare provider.
Bill No. 243-36 (LS) closes a loophole in Guam law by amending the definition of “mental incapacitation.”
Under current law, victims are not considered “mentally incapacitated” if they voluntarily consume an intoxicating substance, such as alcohol, prior to being assaulted or raped. Bill 243 would change this by expanding the definition to include any person under the influence of a substance that renders them incapable of consenting. The bill also establishes “consent” for the first time in the Guam Code and updates the definition of “physically helpless.”
Finally, Bill 244-36 (LS) adopts a standard bill of rights for sexual assault victims in Guam, including the right to advocacy, the right to informative rape kit procedures and notification, and the retention of all rights regardless of whether assault is reported to law enforcement.
“Together, these measures shine a light on the hidden ways abusers exploit the vulnerable. Bills 242, 243, and 244 equip victims to seek justice under the law—helping them to reclaim their lives and feel safe again,” said Senator Torres. “I thank my cosponsor, Speaker Terlaje, for scheduling this hearing and I encourage members of the public to testify and make your voice heard.”