TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public health law, in relation to
health care and wellness education and outreach programs for victims
of sex offenses or victims of child pornography promotion
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
To educate the public about the availability of counseling programs,
education programs and advocacy services provided at no cost by
governmental agencies and not-for-profit organizations for victims of
sexual offenses and for victims of child pornography promotion and
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Section 1 amends the public health law by adding a new paragraph (j)
to subdivision 1 of section 207 of the public health law. This would
provide that the Department, of Health may conduct education and
outreach programs for consumers, patients, and health care providers
relating to the availability of individual, family and group
counseling programs, education programs, and advocacy services
provided at no cost by governmental agencies and not-for-profit
organizations for victims of any sexual offense which constitutes a
crime and for victims of child pornography promotion or possession
Section 2 provides that this act shall take effect immediately
The National Institute of Justice has estimated that one in four women
and one in six men experience some form of sexual assault during their
lifetime. The Disaster Center reports that in 2011 there were almost
3,000 victims of forcible rape in New York State. However, sexual
crimes are among the most under-reported crimes, with 54% of the cases
still being unreported in 2010.
Sexual assault can cause severe trauma-related psychological disorders
that may affect victims for years after the assault. The Center for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that victims of sexual
violence face both immediate and chronic psychological consequences,
which include the following: depression, attempted or completed
suicide, alienation, and post-traumatic stress disorders.
Sexual violence can also have a severe social impact on its victims.
Those who are subject to sexual abuse are proven to have more
difficulties in developing relationships with family, friends and
intimate partners. In addition, unhealthy and risky behaviors can
derive as consequences of sexual violence and factors that increase a
person's vulnerability to being victimized again in the future CDC}.
Victims are more likely to engage in high-risk sexual behaviors (e.g.
unprotected sex and early sexual situation) and to use harmful
substances (cigarettes, alcohol, drugs).
In 2010, 79,668 children in New York State were abused or neglected,
according to the NYS Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment
a victimization rate of 18.0 for every 1,000 children. Sexual offenses
involving children can lead to the production and distribution of
pornographic material. The New York State Department of Criminal
Justice reports that in 2012 there were 22 arrests for using a child
in a sexual performance (i e play, motion picture, photograph or
dance). More than 100 people were arrested for promoting sexual
performances of a child in addition, more than 100 people were
arrested for possessing pornographic material involving children.
The Child Pornography Victim Assistance (CPVA) Program is responsible
for the notification process for victims of child pornography, which
is mandated under the Crime Control Act of 1990 (42 U S.C. § 10607)
and the Crime Victims' Rights Act of 2004 (18 U.S.C. § 3771). Victims
of child pornography face continued victimization as the images of
their sexual abuse are repeatedly downloaded and distributed by
collectors of child pornography. These victims are forced to
continuously live their abuse and may develop severe psychological
consequences, including depression and suicidal thoughts.
This bill would allow the Department of Health to promote the
availability of individual, family, and group counseling programs,
education programs and advocacy services provided at no cost for
victims of sexual offenses and child pornography promotion or
possession. Victims of such offenses may need help to overcome the
trauma but may not be aware of the availability of assistance programs
Promoting the existence of counseling and advocacy programs is
fundamental to encourage victims to face their abuse and to recover
from the resulting psychological distress. Victims should be
proactively informed of the possibility to receive help and
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2013: Referred to Health/A7643 Referred to Health
This act shall take effect immediately.