Where We Stand

Rape Survivor Child Custody Act

 

Rape Survivor Child Custody Act

The National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV), the undersigned state sexual assault coalitions, and the undersigned members of the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence (NTF) are pleased to support the “Rape Survivors Child Custody Act.” NAESV is the voice in Washington for state coalitions and local programs working to end sexual violence and support survivors. State sexual assault coalitions are their states’ leaders on sexual violence policy, intervention and prevention. The NTF is comprised of national, tribal, state, territorial and local organizations, as well as individuals, committed to securing an end to violence against women. Collectively, we share a deep concern for the well-being of survivors who bear children as a result of rape and choose to keep and raise those children. A mother should be able to raise her child free from the fear of having to send that child to visit the person who brutalized her.

We applaud the approach of incentivizing states to pass protective laws that allow survivors to petition to terminate the parental rights of the perpetrator based on clear and convincing evidence. Authorizing new VAWA funds to reward states that pass such laws is an excellent strategy to protect this especially vulnerable group of survivors and support rape crisis centers and domestic violence programs at the same time. With the impacts of sequestration and state and local budget cuts, rape crisis centers and domestic violence programs are desperate for funding to avoid lay-offs and address waiting lists. In fact, a 2012 survey by NAESV found that local programs had laid-off over 100 advocates, left 120 positions vacant, and 60% had a waiting list for basic counseling services.