Hello. I just thought I would share a little bit about the process of changing or trying to get a state to have a criminal law for therapist sexual exploitation. I hope this information is helpful if you decide to try to advocate for changes to your state law that might be inadequate to address therapist sexual exploitation or if you have ideas on how to strengthen a law.
The first thing I did was contact a state legislator. Thankfully she had a listening ear. I explained to her the loopholes in the current law and how those loopholes are preventing people from having the perpetrators held accountable and receiving justice.
Secondly, I informed her there has been some useful court decisions in the past decade that support my position. I then explained the importance of a language change in the current law that would be helpful to victims by not allowing unscrupulous therapists to exploit the loophole.
Thirdly, when the legislator asked me for more information, I sought that information ought and provided it to her. It’s important when the legislator asks for more information to try to get that information to them. If you are not able to find that information, let the legislator know. They have aides what can research the information too. Just make sure you keep calling and ask for updates on what the legislator is doing regarding your issue. They are busy people and it is easy for your issue to be lost in all the things that demand their attention.
Fourthly, she asked me if I knew what others states have done. I did! So, I provided some laws from other states that had some helpful language in their laws that might be useful to include in law in my state.
Lastly, these kinds of changes take time, usually years. Be prepared to follow through on your issue over time. She is now reviewing the information and will be in contact with me shortly. In the meantime, I have identified a few organizations that might be willing to send letters of support once a bill to change this law would be introduced to the legislative body. I also have a few other survivors of therapist exploitation who are willing to share their stories and how closing this loophole would be helpful in holding perpetrators accountable. I will keep you updated on the process.