Errington stays steadfast in fight to define consent in Indiana statute

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INDIANAPOLIS – State Representative Sue Errington (D-Muncie) issued the following statement after the Interim Study Committee on Corrections and Criminal Code met early this week and declined to recommend legislation for the 2021 session that would define “consent” in Indiana statute.

Errington, alongside other lawmakers and advocates, have argued that current laws are antiquated and don’t reflect today’s understanding of rape. Sex without consent is not a crime in the Indiana Code unless there is force, threat of force or incapacitation. The summer study committee comes after bipartisan House Bill 1160, which would have defined “consent” for an offense involving a sex crime, died without a hearing this past legislative session.

“The testimony we heard was compelling to say the least and I applaud the individuals that came forward to share their stories as they are essential advocates in the fight to get consent defined in Indiana code,” Errington said. “We must work together to modernize the definition of rape in our state.

“I have worked for years to pass legislation to define consent and this is just a minor setback in the fight to protect Hoosiers from sexual assault. I was hopeful that a recommendation would come out of the committee, but I am encouraged by the chairperson's commitment to address this during the coming session.

“The fight is not over and I look forward to using the relationships I've forged over the past two years to create a bipartisan piece of legislation that ensures our laws continue to evolve to protect Hoosiers.”

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