Reform Michigan's Child Sexual Abuse Laws

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As a survivor of child sexual abuse, I am calling upon the Michigan Legislature to reform child sexual abuse laws, including reintroducing legislation that expands or eliminates the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse.

The survivors of child sexual abuse deserve a window to justice. The Michigan Legislature must take a stand against lobbyists that have thwarted previous attempts to hold perpetrators accountable. The people of Michigan and the survivors of child sexual abuse have had enough of this egregious pandering to institutions that have covered up decades of child sexual abuse within their state. 

The 100th Michigan Legislature needs to call for a coalition of experts to once again reexamine this issue. The disgraceful ad hominem attacks on experts such as Prof. Marci A. Hamilton must end. With this petition I am calling for a sincere fact-finding investigation by the Michigan Legislature on how to best proceed with statue of limitation reform on child sexual abuse. 

The crushing burden of child sexual abuse needs to be shifted from the survivors to the offenders. Lobbyists have exaggerated some statute of limitations reform economic impacts that pale in comparison to the overall impact of child sexual abuse in the United States. An honest study of these impacts will reveal that the facts are on the side of the survivors and not the powerful institutions that seek to protect these criminals and their profits. 

A window to justice is only one important step towards reforming Michigan’s child sexual abuse laws. Another important step forward is for the State of Michigan to consider screening for adverse childhood experiences. California has taken a bold step towards screening for adverse childhood experiences. The CDC has identified multiple damaging impacts that adverse childhood experiences can create and Michigan needs to act in a comprehensive way to address this issue. With this petition, I am calling for the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services to study screening for adverse childhood experiences. The Michigan Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee and the Michigan House Health Policy Committee can and should hold hearings on addressing the problem of adverse childhood experiences.

The courts and the legislature must consider the impact court revictimization can have on survivors. Closed-circuit television (CCCTV) testimony is a possible victim-centered solution to this problem. Survivors of sexual abuse currently endure excruciating trauma by having to confront their abusers in court, the argument that CCTV testimony violates a defendant’s right to confrontation has been debunked. CCTV testimony for child and adult survivors is an effective way to solve this problem. Studies currently show that CCTV testimony has no impact on jury deliberation. Michigan’s sexual abuse laws must be informed by traumatology and avoid causing further injury to the survivors.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services currently has specific guidance for law enforcement responses to sexual assault. With this petition, I am calling for the MDHHS to create a Model Policy that addresses child sexual abuse exclusively. The problems that law enforcement face with conducting child sexual assault investigations are unique and should be appropriately addressed. Additionally, I am calling for the 100th Michigan Legislature, MDHHS, and the Michigan Department of Attorney General to coordinate in the creation of exclusive task forces that consist of multidisciplinary teams to address the systemic and widespread problem of child sexual abuse.

The 100th Michigan Legislature has the opportunity to be on the right side of history and stand with the survivors of child sexual abuse. Governor Gretchen Whitmer has already voiced her support for these reforms, the legislature needs to follow suit to help victims of child sexual abuse. Please take action NOW!

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