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Lawmaker Pushes Tougher Penalties For Child Abusers

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chloe Walker says she was abused until she was 14 years old:

Walker: "Abuse was as routine as brushing my teeth and going to the grocery store.  It wasn't something that I acknowledged; it was part of my family."

Walker's abuse was discovered and she ended up in foster care. Now she's in college and advocating for legislation by Democratic Assemblyman Dr. Richard Pan. The bill would classify certain crimes, such as physical child abuse or assault resulting in the death of a child under eight as a violent felony:

Walker:"I believe that bringing awareness to how severe these crimes are and how violent they truly are can help prevent child abuse."

Pan:"When the guilty walk away with a slap on the wrist, we are not standing up for our children."
Dr. Pan says the legislation would lengthen prison sentences for some abusers, which would cost the state more.  He says those costs would be offset by savings in other areas, like health care and foster care.
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