close Exit Site If you are in danger, please use a safer computer, or call a local hotline, or the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224, or 911 if it is safe to do so. Learn more technology safety tips. There is always a computer trail, but you can leave this site quickly.
Donate Now Exit Site Add
Judge and gavel
Action Alert

Join us in urging your Members of Congress to act now and prevent catastrophic cuts to th [Read More]

Take Action

WomensLaw Reports Some States Addressing Sexual Assault and Custody through Legislation

April 28, 2015

Laws and court procedures can be difficult to comprehend under the best of circumstances. When the stakes are particularly high, survivors of violence are often alone in trying to make sense of the law and protect themselves and their children.

Through, the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) provides “plain language,” state-specific information in English and Spanish related to domestic violence, family law, immigration, and many other topics. Our goal is to provide survivors with helpful legal information and resources in a way that is understandable to the non-lawyer. In order to provide the most up-to-date information possible, we monitor the legislative changes in 54 states and U.S. territories, so that we can update or expand the information on our website to reflect any new or changed laws.

One legislative proposal that WomensLaw has noticed showing up in many states addresses the custody rights regarding a child who was conceived as a result of rape. Many states’ legislatures are creating laws to specifically restrict or deny any parental rights to a man who has raped a woman and a child was conceived as a result of the rape. Sexual assault is traumatizing; it is unconscionable that courts could force victims to remain in constant contact with the rapist for visitation exchanges.

Over the past couple of years, laws have been passed or amended in North Carolina, Montana, Washington, DC, Colorado, and Arkansas (among other states) to allow for a rapist’s parental rights to be terminated or greatly restricted. NNEDV applauds these measures; we hope to see similar laws passed in many other states over the coming years to protect survivors of rape and their children.

Learn more about the custody laws in your state from