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As a California State Senator, I wrote the first stalking law in the country. The California Legislature passed my bill after four women were killed in the space of 6 weeks in Orange County. All four women, fearing for their life, had sought police protection only to be told that there was nothing that law enforcement could do until they were physically attacked. One police officer told me at the time that the hardest thing he ever had to do in his life was to tell a victim "There is nothing I can do until you're attacked" and subsequently find the victim was killed. Today, all 50 states have put stalking laws on their books.

 Rep. Royce worked together with California resident Kathleen Baty to pass historic anti-stalking laws that keep women in California safe.

When I came to Congress, I felt a change in federal law also was needed because victims were losing the protection of state laws when they crossed state lines. At the time, many states did not respect other states' restraining orders. This new federal law was needed because people who moved to another state were losing their protection. This law provided a uniform federal law protecting stalking victims when they cross state lines to travel or work, and on federal property, such as post offices and military bases. The bill was passed by Congress and signed into law in 1996.

I also have been very supportive of victims' rights legislation. As a state senator, I worked to establish rights for crime victims in California's state constitution as author and campaign co-chair of Proposition 115, the Crime Victims/Speedy Trial Initiative, which gives victims the right to a speedy trial, reduces the number of times crime victims must testify, increases sentences and punishment, and requires reciprocal discovery of evidence.

At the federal level I supported victims' rights legislation that was signed into law in the 108th Congress. During consideration of victims' rights legislation in the House, I testified before the House Constitution Subcommittee. The crime victims rights listed in P.L. 108-405 include the right to be reasonably protected from the accused; to reasonable, accurate and timely notice of any court proceeding or parole proceeding affecting the accused; to be heard at any public court proceeding; to confer with the Attorney for the Government; to full and timely restitution; to proceedings without undue delay; and to be treated with fairness and with respect to victim's dignity and privacy. While I feel the best way to protect crime victims is through the amendment process, I believe that the law that passed was a positive step forward.

 

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