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For years the sex-offender registry has been available to the public. We can look up a person's name to see if they have ever been convicted of a sex-related crime. We can type in our address to see people who live near us who have been convicted of a sex-related crime. It's easy, quick, and free. Why can't we do this with people who have been convicted of child abuse?
In 2006, Congress authorized a national database of abusers. Now it is up to the states to adopt the registry into each state. Some states have said this registry would have too many flaws. One of the main flaws they are worried about is the potential for an innocent person's name ending up on the registry. For some reason they didn't find it to be too high of a risk to make sex offenders' names public, but they do for child abusers. There is a potential for an innocent person to go to prison as well, but that doesn't mean we should close down all the prisons! If a person has been convicted of child abuse, they have been given their day in court, and have been found guilty, and from that point on, they should be revealed for who they really are.
This registry has the potential to save thousands of children from child abuse. Parents could check on nannies, babysitters, and the next-door-neighbor. These monsters could be anywhere.
You never think it will happen to you until it does. I know this first-hand. My one-year-old child went through four and a half weeks of abuse before I discovered it. There were no bruises, but after suspicion arose when she cried every time the nanny showed up, and she stopped sleeping through the night, I set up a hidden nanny camera. Within two hours of the first day of setting up the camera, I caught my nanny shaking my baby 3 times, hitting her 5 times (open hand so as not to leave a bruise), and dropping her from a standing position twice. This is a girl I knew from high school, had excellent references, had worked for a daycare for a year before, and had no criminal background. If her name isn't made public, how many more children will this happen to after she gets out of jail?
How many other thousands of children have gone through this, or are currently going through this every day with parents thinking their children are being loved and cared for when they leave for work? Some children are threatened to the point that they are scared to tell anyone. Some are so little they can't speak for themselves. All they know to do is cry. The states need to speak for the children and alert parents to the names of previously convicted child abusers. This information should be easily accessible, free, and public!
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