February 12, 2016

Indiana Senate unanimously passes legislation to create child abuse registry

2-12-16 Indiana:

Database would be similar to sex offender registry

INDIANA —New legislation is making its way through the Indiana General Assembly to create an online public registry for convicted child abusers.

Indiana State Sen. Carlin Yoder authored the bill known as Kirk's Law in honor of a 19-month-old boy who died under the care of his babysitter in Northern Indiana.

The Senate unanimously passed the bill 49-0. It is currently in the House, recently referred to the Committee on Courts and Criminal Code.

"Lots of perpetrators are very good at being perpetrators and gain the trust of parents and children and everything, so it's really hard to find perpetrators," Sarah Brichto said.

Brichto is the executive director of the Children's Advocacy Center of Southeast Indiana. She works primarily with victims of child abuse and supports creating an online registry.

"Lots of times, they feel guilty because it's a parent's job to protect their children and lots of parents feel like they weren't up to the task or somehow failed," Brichto said.

The online database would be similar to the state sex offender registry and run by the Indiana State Police.

"It's really smart because the sexual offender registry, it works," Brichto said. "People, offenders will do almost anything to not get on that list because people really pay attention to that."

In Kentucky, Jennifer Diaz is working on creating Sophie's Law after her daughter Sophie was abused by the babysitter when she was six months old.

"I can't take away the fact that that woman hurt my child, I can't erase that and that's painful," Diaz said.

Diaz is still in the early stages of contacting doctors, prosecutors and lawmakers to author a bill, but she is willing to do the work to help protect other children.

"I don't want that to happen to any other child," Diaz said. "If I can prevent that from happening just by creating this registry and having everyone who's ever been convicted of child abuse on this registry, I'm hoping that's going to prevent them people from working with any children." ..Source.. by Emily Wood

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