Congress recently unanimously passed Talia’s Law, introduced by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Senator Hirono and constructed in part by attorney Mark Davis. This law was put through in February as an amendment to the National Defense Act. The law is named in honor of five-year-old Talia, whose life was brutally snuffed out by her abusive military father 11 years ago.
The autopsy performed on the late child determined the cause of death to be “battered child syndrome.” Many instances came to light that when reviewed in retrospect should have led to her rescue from the horrid situation of continued abuse. Instead, she was left to suffer and ultimately was killed by her father who is currently in prison facing the death penalty.
How Talia’s Law is Going to Help Children of Abusers Serving in the Military:
Until the passage of Talia’s Law, child abuse allegations were handled differently by the military world than in the civilian. In the civilian world, teachers, doctors or anyone else who has access to children are obligated to report suspected abuse to the State Child Protective Services (CPS). The case is then investigated by the CPS. The organization determines if a child is truly in danger and takes the proper actions to get them to safety if necessary.
In the military community, this situation was previously handled differently. If someone suspected abuse going on in a military family, they could not report their suspicions directly to the CPS. They instead are only allowed to report it to their individual’s military supervisor or a representative of the Department of Defense (DoD). It was then up to them to contact CPS. However, in many instances, CPS is never notified about a case. Talia’s situation is sadly one of those instances.
There Were Many Indications
Talia’s abuse was suspected by many around her. Unfortunately, even though some of these individuals went through the proper channels and reported their suspicions to her father’s supervisor, CPS was never notified. Another similar opportunity involved a trip to the emergency room. Talia was taken to the emergency room, where a military doctor noted bruises and welts present and was told by the child herself that her injuries were inflicted by her father. When the doctor confronted Talia’s father about it, he, of course, denied it. In the end, the doctor concluded the child must have made up her accusations. She was then returned to the abusive situation.
How Military Children Will be Safer Thanks to Talia’s Law
Thanks to Talia’s Law, military child abuse cases will now be handled more like those in the civilian world. Individuals who suspect abuse are required to report it to the military supervisor like before. However, they are also now required to report the case to the State child abuse authorities.
Those who loved Talia, such as her heartbroken mom Tarshia Hampton, hope this change will prevent this from happening to another military child. Tarshia was awarded a settlement of $2 million after suing the government for failing to report the abuse experienced by her daughter Talia who would now be 15 years old. In addition, Tarshia and her attorney Mark Davis worked tirelessly to lobby the law, seeing it as a way to protect military children from abuse. She had the following to say about her vision coming to fruition:
“I hate that she went through what she went through, but I would tell her that Mommy tried really hard to get this passed so it wouldn’t happen to another child, and they wouldn’t have to go through the pain you went through.”