Governor JB Pritzker has formally signed a measure into law to ensure kids testifying in abuse cases will not have to confront their abusers in open court, according to State Rep. Adam Niemerg (R-Dieterich), the sponsor of the bill.
House Bill 2607 is now Public Act 103-0164 that establishes a presumption that the testimony of a victim who is a child under 13 years of age shall testify outside the courtroom and the child’s testimony shall be shown in the courtroom by means of a closed-circuit television.
The presumption can only be removed if the defendant proves the child will not suffer emotional distress by providing testimony in the courtroom.
“It is hard enough for abused kids to talk about what has happened to them and it is even more stressful for them to discuss it in front of their abusers,” Niemerg said. “Kids are not adults. The court needs to hear what they have to say, and we owe it to these kids to make sure they can tell their story without the fear of having to testify in front of their abusers. This is a common-sense measure, and I am pleased Governor Pritzker has signed it into law.”
House Bill 2607 takes effect immediately.