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Perhaps the best example of CAPP’s determination and focus can be seen in the Course of Sexual Conduct Bill. Prior to 1966, rape victims were required to furnish the exact date and time of the crime. And, while this may seem to contain a degree of judicial logic for adults, it is unthinkable for children. In cases of sexual abuse, children are often attacked randomly. That, factored with a child’s inability to figure time, makes it very difficult for a child to identify the date and time of each attack.
Despite the obvious obstacles, CAPP has worked within this law. when a little girl told of sexual abuse, CAPP worked with the district attorney to compile the accused person’s work record and the child’s school record to place both at home at a given time. Perhaps the child remembered a cartoon she had watched just before the rape, and recalled that a sexual abuse incident happened on her birthday or other special occasion.
Realizing the monumental effort involved to work within this cumbersome law, and knowing the difficulty of obtaining convictions based on a child’s incomplete memory of specifics, CAPP focused its efforts on changing the laws surrounding a child’s testimony in court.
It took six years, but a very happy CAPP team was invited to the signing of the Course of Sexual Conduct Bill. Now there is a statute of limitations for bringing criminal charges against perpetrators and children have been given more leeway in terms of the time frame in which abuse has occurred.