New York Executive Law Section 642-A - Fair treatment of child victims as witnesses.

642-a. Fair treatment of child victims as witnesses. To the extent permitted by law, criminal justice agencies, crime victim-related agencies, social services agencies and the courts shall comply with the following guidelines in their treatment of child victims:

1. To minimize the number of times a child victim is called upon to recite the events of the case and to foster a feeling of trust and confidence in the child victim, whenever practicable and where one exists, a multi-disciplinary team as established pursuant to subdivision six of section four hundred twenty-three of the social services law and/or a child advocacy center shall be used for the investigation and prosecution of child abuse cases involving abuse of a child, as described in paragraph (i), (ii) or (iii) of subdivision (e) of section one thousand twelve of the family court act, sexual abuse of a child or the death of a child.

2. Whenever practicable, the same prosecutor should handle all aspects of a case involving an alleged child victim.

3. To minimize the time during which a child victim must endure the stress of his involvement in the proceedings, the court should take appropriate action to ensure a speedy trial in all proceedings involving an alleged child victim. In ruling on any motion or request for a delay or continuance of a proceeding involving an alleged child victim, the court should consider and give weight to any potential adverse impact the delay or continuance may have on the well-being of the child.

4. The judge presiding should be sensitive to the psychological and emotional stress a child witness may undergo when testifying.

5. In accordance with the provisions of article sixty-five of the criminal procedure law, when appropriate, a child witness as defined in subdivision one of section 65.00 of such law should be permitted to testify via live, two-way closed-circuit television.

6. In accordance with the provisions of section 190.32 of the criminal procedure law, a person supportive of the "child witness" or "special witness" as defined in such section should be permitted to be present and accessible to a child witness at all times during his testimony, although the person supportive of the child witness should not be permitted to influence the child's testimony.

7. A child witness should be permitted in the discretion of the court to use anatomically correct dolls and drawings during his testimony.

Last modified: February 3, 2019