New Colorado Law Protects Rape Victims

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11 News has new numbers that show a bigger picture of rape cases in Colorado.

A new report just released by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, shows rape jumped 41 percent from 2012 to 2013. CBI says the rape increase doesn't necessarily represent a crime trend, but rather it's the result of two offenses being added to the data: forcible sodomy and sexual assault with an object.

On Tuesday a new law went into effect in our state that helps protect the victims of rape and their children.

If a woman is raped and becomes pregnant, this new law allows the woman to file a petition and terminate all parental rights of the rapist. Until now, a woman who decided to keep the child would have to face her rapist again and again during visitations and child custody meetings. That won't happen anymore.

11 News talked to State Representative Lois Landgraf, who sponsored the bill. She says she's relieved this dangerous loophole is now closed.

"They want their child to be safe. They don't want any risk that this rapist will come back into their life. They want to move on and now, as of today, they will be able to move on,” explained Landgraf.

11 News also talked to a social worker with TESSA. TESSA is a local organization that helps survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. The social worker has helped victims in this very same situation, and she says this is huge win.

β€œIt creates that opportunity to close that door. It creates that opportunity to healing, and it creates the opportunity for that parent, that victim, to now see themselves as someone who can put a stop to a cycle of abuse that has otherwise continued and continued and continued,” said Erica Laue.

This new law does not require the rapist to be convicted. Now a victim can use evidence from a rape kit in civil court to get the parental rights terminated.