About 40 million children worldwide suffer abuse every year, with more than 1,500 children dying of abuse in the United States annually.

Often the adults who are designed to protect children refuse to take action because they don’t want to get involved or because the perpetrator is a family member and they fear that doing so will split up the family unit.

Even when a perpetrator of sexual child abuse is convicted, they are often only given probation and required to register as a sex offender for no more than 15 years.

Currently, the Nebraska Sex Offender Registration Law (SOR) does not have any restrictions on registered sex offenders. The SOR law can only mandate that the offender register his or her required information under statutes 29-4004 and 29-4006 at the sheriff’s office within the required time.

It is left up to the judges discretion to prevent an offender from attending certain events or restricting an offender from entering certain facilities where vulnerable children are present. But more often judges will only restrict an offender from living near a daycare center and refrain from using drugs and alcohol. Some offenders are even allowed to live with their own children who are also at risk of being abused.

The greatest myth about the SOR law

I started a petition at https://www.change.org/p/pete-ricketts-change-nebraska-sex-offender-registration-law  to change the SOR law in Nebraska. Sadly, very few people have signed it.

Many opponents of the SOR law claim that the law unfairly targets those who urinate in public as sex offenders. This is one of the biggest sex offender myths propagated by registry opponents. There are only 13 states that could possibly have convicted people of being a sex offender for urinating in public. However, these states do have laws against exposing one’s genitalia to the view of a minor or another person who may be offended. So If you are peeing into a bush and no one can see your genitalia, there is no crime and no requirement for registration. There is not a single state that requires registration for urinating in public. Even if those convicted of urinating in public were charged as sex offenders, this would only account for less than 0.1% of all offenders.

America’s long history of child abuse

Laws regarding “cruelty” were first created for the humane treatment of animals on February 8, 1866. It was not until many years later that children were granted that same consideration. (http://www.childenrichment.org/education/child-abuse-history)

Child labors laws were enacted in 1906, but did not provide protection from other forms of child abuse. Without laws specific to child maltreatment, severely abused children would fall under the animal welfare laws as a member of the animal kingdom. It was not until the 1968, after the book “The Battered Child” was published (authors Dr. C. Henry Kempe and Ray E. Helfer), did Americans acknowledge that parents and caregivers truly could and did physically harm their children.

Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.” (Luke 18:16)

Most of us, when threatened or attacked, will contact law enforcement and report it as a crime. But children often won’t tell you straight out that something has happened to them, because either they’ve been threatened, or they may feel ashamed and they may not feel comfortable talking to you about it. So it’s up to adults to watch for the signs of abuse and act on behalf of the child.

Because no child should have to suffer abuse in silence.

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