At PROTECT, we don’t attack the epidemic of child abuse from just one angle. In order to win this war we know you have to move on multiple fronts including having the backs of those brave children who come forward to report abuse. In June, the US Supreme Court made a very critical, but little noticed ruling, when they unanimously decided that children’s statements of abuse, all their statements - whether to a teacher, trusted adult, doctor or neighbor - were admissible as evidence of abuse in criminal proceedings even if the child was unavailable to testify. The ruling gives very young children a fighting chance in court to gain justice and protection, especially from those who abuse them from within their circle of trust. Here is the US Supreme Court ruling: Ohio v Clark
PROTECT partnered with The Virginia Association of Commonwealth Attorney’s in Virginia to write and pass this critical legislation. Despite a decade of progress on fighting child exploitation crimes, Virginia was one of only 18 states that did not allow prosecutors to admit children’s statements of abuse in criminal proceedings. As a result of strong leadership from Chairman Dave Albo and Senator Ryan McDougle, children now have a real voice in court against those who would prey on them and cause them harm. Special Thanks to Senator Janet Howell, Chairman Mark Obenshain, newly elected Delegate Chris Collins, Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran, Attorney General Mark Herring and Governor Terry McAuliffe for their help in keeping this bill on track.
You can read the bill in full at https://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?161+sum+HB227.