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Relating to the application for and duration of a protective order for victims of certain offenses; enhancing a criminal penalty.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
HB 1686 would require a state attorney, if an application for a protective order for a victim of certain offenses has not yet been filed, to promptly file such an application with respect to each victim following the offender's conviction for the following offenses: continuous sexual abuse of a young child, indecency with a child, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, stalking, trafficking or continuous trafficking of persons, or compelling prostitution. The bill would prohibit the attorney from filing such an application with respect to a victim who is at least 18 years of age if the victim requests that the attorney not file the application.
This bill would also require the court to issue such a protective order for the duration of the lives of the offender and victim if the offender is convicted or such an offense and is required to register for life as a sex offender under the sex offender registration program.
Finally, this bill would enhance from a Class A misdemeanor to a state jail felony the penalty for the offense of violation of certain court orders or bond conditions in certain cases if it is shown at trial that the defendant violated such a protective order based on one of the offenses mentioned above.
Texas Action remains neutral on HB 1686 because it does not affect our liberty principles. We do have some reservation about the life-long protective order required in some instances. This would appear to negate the ability of a person who was a victim as a child to choose as an adult whether they will associate with their former abuser. It is not uncommon for people who have been victims to later in life reach out to their abusers because forgiveness and closure are important parts of healing from the deep wounds of victimization. A lifelong protective order may prevent victims from making this choice.