Rep. Michael Capuano Files Legislation to Assist Young Witnesses

March 27, 2001 -- Today, Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA) reintroduced the "Young Witness Assistance Act of 2001" which would establish a grant program through the Department of Justice for young witness assistance initiatives.

"All too often, we hear stories about young people who are harassed and even harmed because they are willing to speak out about a crime. State and local authorities should have the tools to assist young people who try to do the right thing. My legislation will provide officials with the funding necessary to do just that," stated Rep. Capuano.

The bill establishes a separate, permanent grant program at the Department of Justice for state and local juvenile witness assistance programs. The bill, identical to the legislation introduced in the 106th Congress, would do the following:

  • Allows state and local authorities to develop juvenile witness assistance programs that are tailored to meet the specific needs of their communities;
  • Includes examples of specific activities that might be eligible for funding such as establishing a safe house, providing counseling services or creating an educational tutoring system,
  • Creates a three-year authorization for the grant program;
  • Authorizes an appropriation of $15 million for each fiscal year from FY2001 to FY 2003.

"We must support our young people who take a courageous stand against violent crime in their communities. States and municipalities cannot do it alone. This legislation will create a funding mechanism to help officials establish effective programs," Rep. Capuano stated.