South GA lawmakers focus on victim's rights

South GA lawmakers focus on victim's rights
(Source: WALB)

THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - Georgia legislators said making sure victims of sexual assaults, specifically children, are taken care of and have their rights protected is a top priority.

The house and senate passed several bills relating to child abuse during the legislative session.

As we are almost through the first week of April, child abuse prevention month, young sexual assault victims are at the forefront of a lot of people's minds, how to prevent these horrible crimes from happening and how to hold those who commit these crimes against children accountable.

"Sometimes we get up there and we don't realize the effect you really have," said South Georgia House Representative Darlene Taylor.

Georgia Legislators are using that power to help the victims, passing bills they hope becomes law.

One of those bills passed is a two-part bill, part of it will be in the power of Georgia Voters as a resolution during the next election.

Marsy's Law passed unanimously in the House, giving Georgia's crime victims equal rights.

It works in conjunction with Senate Bill 127.

"This is going to give them the right to be told, heard, they have to be informed if someone is having a hearing or going to be released. But mostly the victims have a right to be heard," said Taylor.

Voters will have the opportunity to amend the constitution to make sure these rights are law.

Others laws passed during the Georgia Legislative Session include harsher punishments for those who sexually abuse someone they supervise.

"There has been a problem, we have changed the criteria, if you sexually abuse a child and not just a child but anybody, if you are their supervisor in the case of students if you are their teacher, you will be sentenced harsher," said Taylor.

Taylor said leaders at the state capitol will continue to work closely with the criminal justice council to stay on top of child abuse and sexual assault passing laws when needed.

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