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CSSB 82(HES): "An Act relating to child protection, including forensic interviews and transportation of children; and providing for an effective date."

00                       CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 82(HES)                                                                    
01 "An Act relating to child protection, including forensic interviews and transportation of                               
02 children; and providing for an effective date."                                                                         
03 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                                
04    * Section 1.  The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section                         
05 to read:                                                                                                                
06       LEGISLATIVE INTENT.  (a) The legislature recognizes the serious need for                                          
07 adequate assessment of children who are victims of sexual abuse and serious physical abuse.                             
08       (b)  Child advocacy centers are desirable for promoting a timely, coordinated, and                                
09 multi-disciplinary approach for the investigation, treatment, and prosecution of child abuse                            
10 cases that enhance the safety of children residing in the state, minimize trauma experienced by                         
11 children and families, and hold more offenders accountable.                                                             
12       (c)  The cost of failing to thoroughly assess and treat abused children is too high.  It is                       
13 the purpose of this Act to help ensure that, whenever possible, children who are reasonably                             
14 suspected to have been subjected to sexual abuse or to serious physical abuse receive a                                 
01 skilled, complete, and therapeutic medical assessment and videotaped forensic interview at a                            
02 child advocacy center.                                                                                                  
03    * Sec. 2.  AS 47.17.064 is amended by adding new subsections to read:                                              
04            (c)  In addition to the authority provided in (a) of this section, the department                            
05       may, without the permission of the parents, guardian, or custodian, conduct or                                    
06       authorize a person to conduct a forensic interview of a child who the department has                              
07       reasonable cause to suspect has suffered sexual abuse or physical harm as a result of                             
08       child abuse or neglect if the department has documented the grounds for establishing                              
09       reasonable cause.  The forensic interview authorized by this subsection may be                                    
10       conducted only by the department or by a peace officer or professional staff of a child                           
11       advocacy center authorized by the department.  The department shall notify the                                    
12       parents, guardian, or custodian of a child as soon as possible after taking action under                          
13       this subsection with regard to the child.                                                                         
14            (d)  The department may transport or authorize a third party to transport a child                            
15       for photographs or a medical or radiological examination under (a) of this section or a                           
16       forensic interview under (c) of this section.  Transportation of a child under this                               
17       section does not constitute the child's being taken into emergency custody of the state                           
18       under AS 47.10.142.                                                                                               
19            (e)  In this section,                                                                                        
20                 (1)  "child advocacy center" means a facility with a child-focused,                                     
21       community partnership committed to a multidisciplinary team approach that includes                                
22       representatives from law enforcement, child protection, criminal prosecution, victim                              
23       advocacy, and the medical and mental health fields, who collaborate and assist in                                 
24       investigations of allegations of sexual or other abuse, and neglect, of children;                                 
25                 (2)  "forensic interview" means a structured interview that employs                                     
26       objective and age-appropriate questioning techniques to elicit accurate and reliable                              
27       facts that may be used in court proceedings;                                                                      
28                 (3)  "peace officer" has the meaning given in AS 11.81.900.                                             
29    * Sec. 3.  The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to                         
30 read:                                                                                                                   
31       REVISOR'S INSTRUCTION.  The revisor of statutes is instructed to change the                                       
01 heading of AS 14.17.064 from "Photographs and x-rays" to "Photographs and other                                         
02 authorized procedures."                                                                                                 
03    * Sec. 4.  This Act takes effect immediately under AS 01.10.070(c).