The brand new Indiana regulation permits warrants of safety towards suspected little one robber messages
A bill went into effect last week for Indiana that could prevent people trying to nurse a child for sexual activity from getting there.
Indiana SB 551, written by Sens. Mark Messmer, Michael Young, and Erin Houchin, went into effect July 1. It partially enables parents or guardians to obtain an injunction against a person they believe is attempting sexual contact with a child.
Sexual care could begin in many different ways, but Clark County Attorney Jeremy Mull said a common example is online communication between the child and a potential abuser, whether or not that person is known.
“This is an opportunity for parents to prevent individuals from instant messaging their children [or] Contacting them if they are uncomfortable with the way of interacting, “he said.
Mull added that the provision relaxes some of the barriers to protection orders that have existed in recent years.
“In the past few years, it used to be easier for citizens to obtain protection warrants against other people who molested them or their families,” he said. “This calculation is a step in the right direction.”
Mull said the first thing a parent should do if they believe someone is having inappropriate communication with their child – online or otherwise – is to call the police and open an investigation to see if a crime has occurred .
However, this does not mean that a contactless order is only placed after the investigation has been completed. Knowing the suspect’s name allows parents to go to court and get an injunction filed faster to prevent further communication.
That way, “parents can end contact if there was an investigation that took some time to complete,” said Mull.
Noelle Russell, assistant director of communications for the Indiana Department of Child Services, said in an email that the organization supports efforts like the new bill to protect the welfare of children.
“DCS welcomes all efforts to protect Hoosier children, and we understand that these efforts need to evolve alongside technology,” she said.
According to the U.S. Department of Health’s report on child abuse, published in January, nearly 9 percent of all crimes against children in the country were sexual.
The bill also adds privacy for children. Under the new law, records from the childcare department cannot be disclosed to anyone when there is an ongoing investigation or criminal prosecution. Instead of listing the name or initials of a child who is a victim of a violent crime in public documents, they are identified anonymously, for example “victim 1”, and only the court receives the key to the identity.
In addition, children under the age of 16 who have to testify in criminal proceedings can be given the right to have a comfort item or a comfort animal with them.
When condemning changes, the bill provides for stricter punishment for those charged with strangulation. The charge can be upgraded to a level 5 crime, which lasts from one to six years if the suspect has been previously convicted. Mull said this is important because a person who receives multiple strangulation allegations may be headed for something more serious.
“Often what we see with strangulation is that people who commit this crime escalate into more violent crimes … murder or other types of serious crime,” he said.