Op-Eds
November 3, 2021

Laws Needed to Encourage Assisting Those in Peril

Laws Needed to Encourage Assisting Those in Peril
Op-Eds
November 3, 2021

Laws Needed to Encourage Assisting Those in Peril

Laws Needed to Encourage Assisting Those in Peril

On Oct. 13, Fiston Ngoy allegedly raped an unnamed woman on a train outside Philadelphia while other riders did little to intervene, or even to call 911. Commentators immediately compared this assault to Winston Moseley’s attack against Catherine “Kitty” Genovese in Queens, N.Y., in 1964. That crime contributed to the development of “Bad Samaritan laws,” which impose a legal duty to assist others in peril through intervening directly (“duty to rescue”) or notifying authorities (“duty to report”). These laws, which Pennsylvania lacks, punish bystanders (who passively watch others in need) and encourage upstanders (who actively assist, potentially saving lives). The alleged Ngoy assault, even more than Moseley’s, illustrates the need to enact duty-to-report laws to prod would-be bystanders to become upstanders.

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