Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Under-reporting of crimes against children, Domestic Violence data collection - 2014 Indiana House Bill 1137

22 January 2014

A bill to add the under-reporting of crimes against children to the duties of the Commission on Improving the Status of Children and having the Department of Health evaluate Domestic Violence incidents was introduced by Representatives Hale, Turner, McMillin, and Macer.

The synopsis of the bill is;
Reporting of sex crimes against children. Requires the commission on improving the status of children in Indiana to study and evaluate the underreporting of crimes against children. Requires the state department of health or the office of women's health to conduct a study to determine the number of persons who are the victims of crimes of domestic and sexual violence, the reasons why these crimes are underreported, best practices to improve reporting, and the most effective means to connect victims with appropriate treatment services. Establishes a framework for the study, and permits the department of health or the office of women's health to contract with a third party to conduct the study. (The introduced version of this bill was prepared by the criminal law and sentencing policy study committee.)

The bill adds an additional duty of the Commission under IC 2-5-36-9 which states that the Commission shall also study;
(J) Underreporting of crimes against children, including the reasons for underreporting.

Much of the bill relates to having the Indiana Department of Health identify Domestic Violence incidents. Specific points of data analysis relate to domestic and sexual violence are stipulated in this bill. This data will give service providers and policy makers more specific and accurate information that will help guide them in targeting resources more directly to those in need. Here are some of the distinctions that the bill draws:
(a) Before July 1, 2015, the office or the state department shall conduct a study to do the following:
(1) Determine the extent to which crimes of domestic and sexual violence are underreported.
(2) Identify which crimes of domestic and sexual violence are more commonly underreported.
(3) Investigate differences between the reporting of crimes of domestic and sexual violence committed:
(A) against children;
(B) against adults;
(C) in urban areas;
(D) in suburban areas; and
(E) in rural areas.
(4) Investigate and identify reasons why the victims of unreported crimes of domestic and sexual violence do not report these crimes, both in general and with reference to specific crimes.

Concerning acts of Domestic Violence, this bill will have the Committee;
(8) Make recommendations concerning best practices to:
(B) provide resources for persons who are the victims of crimes of domestic and sexual violence; and
(C) make educational, therapeutic, and other resources available to victims of crimes of domestic and sexual violence who may have not reported the crimes.

Much of the remainder of the bill is in regards to data gathering and trying to identify variations in population victimization and trends. This section will expire on 30 June 2016.

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