State Representative Tony Dale filed three bills to strengthen protection for victims of sexual assault and family violence. “Victims of rape, sexual assault and family violence suffer untold trauma and the State of Texas must make it easier to obtain the full protection of the law these people deserve,” said Dale.
House Bill 1812 allows a court to order the termination of the parent-child relationship if a child was a product of a sexual assault. Under current law convicted rapists have parental rights and this causes additional trauma for the victim and the child. For example, convicted rapist may refuse to waive their parental rights when the birth mother wants to put up a child for adoption. Dale said, “It is important that we provide a voice to the child and a mother when a child is the result of a violent act. It is our duty to protect the victims of these acts and to make sure that the perpetrator is not allowed to further victimize the child and mother.”
House Bill 461 provides law enforcement with an alternative method of serving protective orders when numerous unsuccessful attempts have been made over a 48-hour period. Speeding up the service process is important so that the protective order can be enforced by police and to protect the person it is intended to protect. Oftentimes, subjects of protective orders evade law enforcement when constables are attempting service. Any delay in serving the protective order can place the victim in jeopardy. Williamson County Sheriff, Robert Chody said, “Introducing bills such as this are a great testimony of how Texas laws, though good, can be improved. Representative Dale not only listened to my proposals and suggestions, but took actions for victims of crimes in Williamson County and Texas.”
House Bill 472 seeks to extend the benefits of a protective order and prevent victims from having to go to court on an annual basis to reaffirm the need for the protective order. Dale said, “Victims that have been issued a protective order should not be brought back to court year after year, by the subject of the protective order to once again explain and prove the need for the protective order.”
“House Bills 1812, 461 and 472 address a variety of issues that will further protect victims of these crimes. We must not allow victims of these crimes to continue to be victimized by not fully affording them all the protections that we can provide,” Dale said.
State Representative Tony Dale is Vice Chairman of the Juvenile Justice & Family Issues Committee, is a member of the Environmental Regulation Committee and serves as Chairman of the House Energy Caucus. He represents southwestern Williamson County, Cedar Park, Leander, Brushy Creek, and parts of Austin and Round Rock.