Termination of Parental Rights

Termination of Parental Rights (S.3215A/A.6997A)

The New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NYSCASA) supports this legislation, which would amend the domestic relations law, the penal law and the family court act, in relation to termination of parental rights in cases of a child conceived through rape.

In May 2015, The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act was passed by Congress. Title IV of this act or the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act provides an incentive to states that adopt legislation which terminate the parental rights of a rapist.

Rape Survivors can experience both short term and long term mental health issues, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and attempted or completed suicide.[1] Forcing rape survivors to have an ongoing relationship with their perpetrator is cruel and inhumane.

In one case, a fourteen-year-old girl, who was raped by an older man was forced to notify him of her decision to put the baby up for adoption. The court permitted her to give up her parental rights, but her rapist was able to retain his parental rights. Thereafter he sought child support payments from the girl he raped.[2] This is unacceptable. It is imperative that we protect survivors and not re-traumatize them.

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[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Sexual Violence: Consequences, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/sexualviolence/consequences.html (last updated April. 21, 2016).

[2] Sara Ainsworth, Parental Rights for Rapists, RH Reality Check (April 10, 2008),   http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2008/04/10/parental-rights-for-rapists/

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