Kilah’s Story Leads to Child Abuse Prevention Law

“Kilah is looking down and smiling, cheering and happy that we got this accomplished.” So said Leslie Davenport, the grandmother of Kilah Davenport, who, at the age of three, succumbed to injuries incurred at the hands of her abusive stepfather, upon news that a new law will protect other children from such fates.

The Act — The Kilah Davenport Act of 2013 — requires the Department of Justice to report on child abuse prevention laws in each state, highlighting how they address instances of severe, repeated abuse. The Act also increases allowable federal penalties against those who have been previously convicted on child abuse charges and re-offend.

For years, Kilah endured horrific abuse that resulted in brain damage. After many surgeries and hospital stays, Kilah passed away in March, 2014. Her stepfather was convicted for felony child abuse, which, at that time, carried a sentence of less than eight years.

The Act’s lead sponsor, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), recognized RAINN’s support for the legislation, and said the law “will ensure the care and protection of our children and help address abuse in each of our states.” On May 20th President Obama signed the Act into law. To learn more about your states’ laws on sexual violence, visit RAINN’s State Law Database.

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