This article last year noted the disturbing increase in the number of reported cases involving individuals prosecuted for the sexual abuse of children, and the persistence of legislative efforts to address the profound difficulties encountered by young children called as witnesses in those cases. This year, the General Assembly finally yielded to the urgings of those seeking changes in the law, and to the recommendations of a joint legislative subcommittee created in 1987 to study the problem of child abuse victims as witnesses in the courtroom. The subcommittee recommended the enactment of four bills in an effort to minimize the adverse impact of the courtroom atmosphere on young children who testify in child abuse cases while trying, at the same time, to protect the legitimate rights of the person accused of abuse. All four of the proposed bills were enacted into law with few amendments.
Robert E. Shepherd Jr.,
Annual Survey of Virginia Law: Legal Issues Involving Children,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol22/iss4/11