Virginia and Washington D.C. Consider More Inclusive Mandatory Reporting Laws
For immediate release: December 27, 2018
We support any effort that would compel more people to report suspected child abuse or neglect to authorities. Often, such reports are the best way to inform police and child protection professionals that a child is in danger and in need of help. At the same time, we would argue that any such proposal should not give special exemptions to situations where “faith’s doctrine requires the report ‘to be confidential.’” While such an exemption is intended to ensure the sanctity of confession, we are afraid that such an exception would allow church officials to hide behind technicalities and avoid reporting abuse even when learned of outside of the confessional booth.
As shown by the Charter of the Protection for Children and Young People, simply requiring that church officials report abuse is not enough. We hope that any proposal that is passed, whether in Virginia or in the District of Columbia, will contain strict penalties for anyone who is found to have held information related to child abuse instead of reporting it to authorities. Such penalties are necessary to ensure the authority of this much-needed reform.
CONTACT: Becky Ianni, SNAP Virginia leader (email@example.com, 703-801-6044)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.