Both Party Platforms Gave Short Shrift to Child Sexual Abuse

Marci V Hamilton

Marci A. Hamilton

Professor Marci Hamilton reviewed the Democratic and Republican party platforms and found them lacking on child sex abuse. Neither of them addressed the issue comprehensively.

Instead they both focused on those prosecutor favorites, sex trafficking and child pornography. While these are important problems, they are only a tiny fraction of all child sex abuse which is estimated to affect 20% to 25% of all children.

It would be decent and it would be politically smart for both parties to address this issue. she proposes the following platform language:

Estimates suggest that 20-25 percent of American children are subjected to sexual abuse. The science of child sex abuse has established that the trauma of child sex abuse often has lasting effects, with victims experiencing a significantly higher rate of PTSD, addiction, suicide, and many other physical, mental, and emotional negative consequences than the population generally. Child sex abuse destroys childhoods, lives, and families, and deprives the United States of the talents and contributions of too many. The cost is typically borne by the victims rather than the institutions that created the conditions for the abuse. The justice system has routinely failed child sex abuse victims through unfairly short criminal and civil statutes of limitations. To turn the tide on this epidemic, (1) the federal government should incentivize the states to eliminate the criminal and civil statutes of limitations for child sex abuse and to revive expired civil statutes of limitations; (2) the President should appoint a National Commission on child sex abuse, similar to the Australian Royal Commission; and (3) Congress should amend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to prevent its application in any case involving harm to a child.

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2 thoughts on “Both Party Platforms Gave Short Shrift to Child Sexual Abuse

  1. Serious as child pornography is, it’s a sad day when those found guilty of downloading images of evil being perpetrated are given FAR longer sentences than those actually perpetrating the evil. But that is the crooked word of America. Download images, you go to federal prison for AT LEAST five years (the Judge has no discretion). And no parole in the federal system. Actually rape a kid? You might just get out of state jail in three on parole.

    • The most severe child porn sentences are not for downloading but for distributing to others. Those sentences are sometimes much more severe because they are federal crimes and the feds tend to go for longer sentences.

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