A U.S. Congresswoman from southern Florida introduced legislation that she claims will protect rape survivors from further abuse by their rapists in July, and following its approval in her home state, she is currently encouraging other states to adopt the act. She proposed that in situations in which a pregnancy occurs from a rape, full child custody should automatically go to the mother.
The Congresswoman expressed hopes that the act, called the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act, will prevent survivors of rape from having to fight their rapists for custody of their children. Every year in the United States, 32,000 pregnancies result from rape.
Specifically, the RSCCA would incentivize states to enact protective statutes via a special grant program that supplements federal funding by the Violence Against Women Act, the STOP Violence Against Women Formula Grant and the Sexual Assault Services Program. The Florida version of the bill passed by unanimous vote. The Congresswoman said she hoped that other states would follow in Florida’s footsteps by protecting already victimized women from being traumatized further by their attackers.
At the time of the introduction of the federal version of this legislation, only six states provided rape survivors with the legal protections afforded by the RSCCA.
The new Florida legislation may make great strides for rape victims who should not be burdened by custody worries, but for other Floridians, child custody matters may nevertheless prove contentious. A Florida attorney experienced in divorce issues may be able to help parents with a custody arrangement that fits the best interests of the child or argue on one parent’s behalf in a custody hearing to demonstrate that the parent better preserves the child’s welfare and standard of living.
Source: CBS Miami, “Wasserman Schultz Urges The Protection Of Rape Survivors’ Parental Rights“, Marybel Rodriguez, September 04, 2013