Steps to Begin the Process of Getting a Law Passed
- First, educate yourself on the Laws in your State (compare to other States). (See our home page.)
- If your State has NO Laws against Counselor Sexual Abuse OR Clergy Sexual Abuse – it is recommended to focus on passing a Law against Counselor Sexual Abuse first. Then later add on Sexual Abuse by Religious Counselors/Clergy.
- If your State HAS a Law against Counselor/Professional Sexual Abuse ONLY – then you will need to get a Law against Clergy added to the Counselor Law that is already in place.
- Next educate yourself about Clergy Sexual Abuse (CSA) and/or Counselor Sexual Abuse – you may need one or both depending on what your State has currently. Look at our list of sites like SNAP, The Hope of Survivors etc…(Also check out our resource page. We will add information to this as it is provided.)
- Learn all you can so you can define and explain this abuse to legislators.
- Gather all the statistics about the abuse: like the prevalence and consequences of this abuse – for example, Baylor University’s research shows 1 in 33 women will experience CSA sometime in her lifetime in the U.S.
- Add articles about CSA in the U.S. and particularly in your State showing why your state needs to protect its citizens. (See our articles page. Also send us any that you want to add.)
- Add useful resources like State Boards Practice Codes that declare any sexual relations with clients is forbidden OR Church by-laws like United Methodist have that forbid clergy from any sexual relations with those under their care.
- Compile all of your information together with all the States with their Laws together to show the need for protecting ALL people in ALL States.
- You may get needed support and help from local advocacy groups in your area. In Alabama, ACAR – AL Coalition Against Rape is a great resource.
- Also, try to get counselors in your State to support such Bills OR get clergy to support a proposed Bill.
- Try to find other survivors of this abuse to help you and possibly be willing to testify or give a written testimony. (Check our resource page for survivor blog links. If you have one to add please send!)
- Next you need to get a Bill sponsored by a State Senator or State Representative. Call and set up an appointment – be persistent.
- Once a State Senator or Representative agrees to sponsor such a Bill – it needs to pass through the House and then the Senate – and then finally–
- The governor of your state will have to sign it to make it Law.
- Keep in mind that this is a process that will take a lot of time and effort on each individual’s part, but it is a effort that is worth it. You will be giving voice to so many who do not have a voice. Your work in this area will clarify the boundary lines that have been crossed in a victim’s life.
- Laws make a clear statement about where the boundary lines must be drawn. Laws keep us safe. Laws also clear up confusion in the victim’s mind about who is to blame. Laws also clearly communicate to an individual, organization, or church who is to blame. Laws motivate to bring about much needed change to protect us!
- There is strength in numbers. We encourage you to network and find others in your state who care about this cause like you do. Set up a social media page for your state. Get a petition started. Most of all educate yourself. If you will send us your contact information or a link to your social media page, we will post it on our PASA site, so that others can find you. We will also post on our site any information that you’d like to share that will help our cause of networking, educating, and working together to get laws passed. PLEASE SHARE YOUR INFORMATION WITH US! WE NEED YOUR HELP!
Other helpful resources for passing a law:
Find and contact your senators and representatives here.