Rape Survivor Child Custody Act Project

Advocating for the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act is a project of Save The 1. Many of our members have been working since 2007 to get this law introduced and passed — to terminate the parental rights of rapists using the “clear and convincing evidence” standard, without requiring a rape conviction. In all cases involving termination of parental rights in the United States and in many other nations, a conviction is not required because terminating parental rights is a civil matter, not a criminal matter. For example, you don’t need a conviction for child abuse or child molestation in order to terminate parental rights for those reasons. According to the U.S. Supreme Court case of Santosky vs. Kramer, the “clear and convincing evidence” standard — the highest civil standard there is — meets due process requirements for terminating parental rights. Rapists are patently unfit to be parents.

This model legislation has been signed into law by President Obama and passed unanimously in many states. It’s also been introduced in Malta and in Brazil after I spoke there and met with legislators. It is pro-life in effect, because if pregnant rape victims know they will be protected from the rapist having parental rights, then they will be more likely to choose life. But this law is something any legislator should be able to support, whether a liberal Democrat, a conservative Republican, or anywhere else on the political spectrum.

Since Save The 1 has a network of hundreds of rape victim mothers, we have repeatedly seen this issue pop up — where rape survivor moms have had to fight their rapist regarding custody or parenting time. These mothers and their children deserve to be protected. Protecting them is part of Save The 1’s mission. We have many mothers who are available and eager to testify on this type of legislation, so their stories can be heard. We have a secret Facebook group for moms who have dealt with this. Please contact us for more info on this legislation!

Rebecca Kiessling, Esq.
President and Founder of Save The 1

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