WEST CHESTER (April 9, 2019) – State Senator Andy Dinniman was recently honored with the Guardian of Victims’ Rights Award by Marsy’s Law for Pennsylvania and the Crime Victims Center of Chester County.
The award is presented to individuals who have served as advocates and ambassadors for crime victims across the state, working to ensure that they are treated with dignity and respect.
Dinniman said he was humbled by the honor and that he would continue his efforts to ensure that victims rights are recognized and that crime victims have access to strong support services like those readily available through CVC.
“Victims of violent crime deserve to have a voice. They deserve to be treated with respect, dignity, and compassion by our justice system. And they deserve to have legally protected rights to ensure they have a say in court proceedings,” Dinniman said. “After all, it is only when victims are truly heard that they and their families can begin to recover to lead long, healthy and productive lives.”
Dinniman is a supporter and co-sponsor of the Pennsylvania version of Marsy’s Law (House Bill 276 and Senate Bill 149), which would give victims the right to be notified of proceedings in their criminal cases, be present at court hearings, and be heard at plea and sentencing proceedings.
The bill is named for a California woman, Marsalee (Marsy) Nicholas, who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. A week after her death, Marsy’s mother and brother were confronted by her accused killed in a grocery store, unaware that he had been released on bail.
But the passage of Marsy’s Law would change that and ensure the rights of crime victims and their families.
Earlier this month, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously approved House Bill 276. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.
Because Marsy’s Law requires a constitutional change, it must be approved in two consecutive legislative sessions and then be approved by voters. Last year, the General Assembly unanimously approved it, so it could appear on voter ballots in November.
Although the state constitution enumerates rights for individuals accused and convicted of crimes, Pennsylvania is one of only nine states that does not afford the same protections to crime victims.
Dinniman also thanked the supporters, volunteers and staff of the CVC for their efforts to prevent crime through education and outreach while providing vital victims services.
“They are the real heroes here, as well as the supporters and staff of Marsy’s Law, who continue to work tirelessly for this important change,” Dinniman said.
For more information about Marsy’s Law, visit https://www.marsyslawforpa.com/.
For more information on CVC, visit https://www.cvcofcc.org/.
If you or someone you know believes you may be a victim of crime and would like to speak with an advocate for support or have questions, call one of CVC’s 24-hour hotlines:
- Sexual Assault (610) 692-7273
- Other Crimes (610) 692-7420