Bill to Add Sexual Assault Training for Police Clears House

 

DOVER - The House today voted unanimously in favor of legislation to improve annual training requirements for Delaware law enforcement officers related to sexual assault detection, prosecution and prevention.

Out of nearly 600 hours of required minimum training, Delaware police officers typically receive only eight hours of training on domestic violence and four hours on sex crimes. Under House Bill 2, police officers would receive victim-centered, trauma-informed sexual assault training amounting to at least two hours every four years. Prosecutors serving in the Department of Justice Criminal Division would be required to receive four hours of such training every three years.  

“When a police officer makes contact with a victim of sexual assault, and later when the victim meets with our state prosecutors, we want to make sure those interactions are conducted with care, respect and sensitivity, to ensure that the victim is not re-traumatized during the criminal justice process,” said bill sponsor Rep. Helene Keeley, D-Wilmington South. “We want our Delaware law enforcement officers to have the most current, relevant and appropriate training to investigate and prosecute these unique crimes.”

House Bill 2 is part of a package of legislation crafted this year to address a host of issues that impact Delaware women every day in their workplaces, doctors’ offices, homes and schools. Collectively, the bills are sponsored and cosponsored by every female lawmaker in Dover, from both sides of the aisle in the House and Senate. The package focuses on three major areas where reform is needed for Delaware women: justice and public safety, health care and employment. The wide-ranging package is a list of the top priorities for change and revision to state laws that impact women.

House Bill 2 now heads to the Senate for consideration. So far, one bill, House Bill 81, has been signed into law, and four additional bills in the package have passed one chamber of the General Assembly and are awaiting action in the other chamber.