INDIANAPOLIS – The Senate sent legislation to the governor Thursday that would expand the state’s Lifeline Law to give immunity to minors who are crime victims or witnesses even if they’ve been drinking.
Senate Bill 227 is meant in part to help victims of sexual assault who might be afraid to call the police because they’re underage and intoxicated, said the bill’s author, Sen. Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis.
“We’ve had a lot of conversations with students about unreported sexual assaults,” Merritt said.
The bill expands the existing Lifeline Law, which already provides immunity to minors if they call 911 to help a friend who may be in medical danger after drinking too much.
SB 227 also creates a commission to study the growing problem of sexual assault of minors. Rep. Christina Hale, D-Indianapolis, said she added the study to the bill after learning that one out of every six Hoosier girls are raped or sexually assaulted before graduating high school.
Lesley Weidenbener is the executive editor of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.