HARRISBURG – A bill to better support children who are victimized as they seek justice has passed the state House and is on its way to the Senate. House Bill 2342 amends the state’s Tender Years Hearsay Act, which permits the introduction of hearsay statements concerning violent or sexual offenses. Currently, a victim must be age 12 or younger to allow hearsay statements in the case. The bill would increase the maximum age to 16. Allowing the statements would remain at the judge’s discretion. A fear of testifying is a primary reason many sexual assaults go unreported. Child victims in sexual assault cases who do testify are routinely subjected to long periods of cross examination and are often forced to repeatedly describe the explicit details underlying any assault. By extending the age from 12 to 16, the bill will provide additional protections to child victims and ensure that offenders are brought to justice.