Legislative Advocacy

The Interim Study Committee on Corrections and Criminal Code has decided not to recommend proposed legislation defining consent in the Indiana statute.

The Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking has been actively advocating to reform Indiana’s current rape statute to include a definition of consent. On September 15, a hearing was held by the Courts and Criminal Code Committee to listen to testimony on this issue. Sexual Assault Service Providers, SANEs, survivors, and supporters of the issue, including actor Jesse Eisenberg, all provided compelling testimony in support of this reform. There was no testimony provided during the hearing in opposition.

On October 6, the Committee on Courts and Criminal Code held another hearing where it was determined, by Chairwoman Wendy McNamara, that no motion on the issue of consent will be made and instead continued discussion on the issue will be had. Committee members, Senator Lanane and Senator Tallian both voted “no” on the report brought for motion citing their disagreement with not moving forward with language defining consent. Senator Lanane shared that he was present for the prior hearing and heard no objections to creating a definition of consent and does not understand why we are putting this off when we know that there is a need to have a recommendation put forth by the committee. Senator Tallian echoed those same sentiments and expressed concern that by not having a recommendation, the advocacy groups and survivors who have been working for a long time on this issue, may not feel as though the committee even cares.

We are grateful for the support on this issue. We are grateful to Representatives Errington, Campbell, and Negele for their commitment to this issue. We are grateful to Chairwoman McNamara for ensuring that the issue of consent remains an active conversation at the Statehouse. ICESAHT will continue to work in collaboration with legislators, advocates, survivors and additional stakeholders to bring about this must needed reform to an antiquated statute.

ICESAHT has created and presented a resource to the Interim Study Committee. It includes the two bills that were proposed over the two years neither of which receive a hearing. The document also shares the five implications of not having consent legislation and the comparison of laws.