A Chicago attorney is asking Illinois legislators to do more to protect the children of rape victims. Chris Slaby reports on a loophole in state law.
Shauna Prewitt is an attorney now. But when she was a senior in college, she was raped and became pregnant.
She decided to keep the child, a daughter. And then she became a victim of a different stripe…
PREWITT: “when seven years ago I had to fight my rapist for custody of my daughter.”
Prewitt’s now advocating for what she calls a “small but important change.”
PREWITT: “In Illinois law currently, a woman who is raped can have the visitation and custody priveleges of her attacker restricted. But only if she has a criminal rape conviction against that attacker.”
She says less than five-percent of all rapes end with a conviction, leaving victims like her without protection.
Prewitt’s pressing legislators to lower that standard, so “clear and convincing” evidence of a rape would be enough to restrict an attacker’s parental rights.
She says that’s still a substantial hurdle for a woman to prove, and it’s already the standard for other custody cases, like those involving abuse and neglect.
Upon hearing Prewitt’s testimony, a House committee approved the proposal.