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May 2022 Legislative Updates

 




MOCADSV has recently done an excellent job of summarizing the legislative changes agreed on during the last session. The Omnibus Bill was passed with support from both party lines and included were several changes pertaining to sexual assault. 

Among these changes, highlights include: 

*The Sexual Assault Survivors' Bill of Rights was edited to be more concise in presenting victims their rights and expectations from all parties involved. 
*The "rape shield" law expanded to cover victims from being questioned on prior sexual activity throughout the entire judicial process of the assault proceedings. Before, this was just during the actual trial. 
*Improvements to keeping victim contact information and other personal information like employer information out of trial proceedings for an increase in victim privacy. 
*Changes will now allow video conference for civil court proceedings making legal proceedings potentially more comfortable for victims. 

All changes made during this session are scheduled to be implemented August 28th, 2022. 

Donelan Law Welcomes Meredith Osgood!

 

Meredith Osgood, Client Coordinator

Donelan Law is thrilled to announce Meredith Osgood as the new Client Coordinator for the firm.
 
Meredith has a history of working hard to help others. With a career working and volunteering in non-profit organizations, Meredith has worked with both volunteers and those benefitting from agency services. 
Working with others to accomplish goals while focusing on what matters most - helping others and instilling community - is what she does best. While at CASA of Southwest Missouri, Meredith found herself in and out of the court room in various supporting roles. She is looking forward to working for the clients at Donelan Law in a similar capacity.
Meredith has a degree in Elementary Education from Missouri State University.  She is a wife and mother, and is committed to do whatever she can to help those seeking out the legal representation from Donelan Law. 



Research Links Sexual Assault to later Brain Damage in Women

A recent news article discusses the findings of a study showing women who have experienced sexual violence are more likely to develop disruptions to blood flow in the brain.  

The study found that women who experience sexual violence might face more than the physical injuries sustained during the attack and other known mental health consequences like post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, or depression. They may also have a higher risk of a certain type of brain disease that's a precursor for dementia and stroke.

This research has important implications for women's overall health and identifying early warning signs of stroke and dementia.  Women who have been sexually traumatized are encouraged to share this information with their health care providers. 



  


U.S. Olympic Gymnasts Demand Accountability for Sexual Abuse

Today, Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols, gave gut-wrenching testimony during a Senate Judiciary hearing about the FBI’s complete failure in handling the Larry Nassar investigation.  According to the Washington Post, at least 40 girls and women said they were molested after the FBI had been made aware of allegations against Nassar in 2015.

McKayla Maroney said, “I think for so long all of us questioned, just because someone else wasn’t fully validating us, that we doubted what happened to us. And I think that makes the healing process take longer."

While this case caught the world's attention, the troubling reality is that child sexual abuse victims in our community are too often ignored, discredited, and blamed when they report abuse or reach out for help from individuals and institutions.  Hearing these strong women speak out about how hard it was to come forward and the abhorrent response they received when they did speak up is heartbreaking.  We must do better.  When individuals' and institutions' actions and inaction enable perpetrators, they must be held responsible criminally and civilly.   

“If you allow a predator to harm children, the consequences will be swift and severe. Enough is enough,” stated Simone Biles.

Stopping child abuse is everyone's responsibility. If you suspect a child is being sexual abused, make a report immediately: 1-800-392-3738  Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline