Lawmaker hopes for ‘mental change’ to prevent child sexual abuse through bill

Jan 8, 2021, 1:53 PM | Updated: 3:52 pm

Utah legislative session domestic violence legislation...

(Utah State Capitol Complex. Credit: Paul Nelson, file)

(Utah State Capitol Complex. Credit: Paul Nelson, file)

SALT LAKE CITY– One Utah lawmaker is proposing a bill to encourage discussion on child sexual abuse, hoping to spur conversations that will bring an end to “this awful crime.”

Democratic Rep. Andrew Stoddard of Sandy said this abuse happens more often than people think, in part because it’s uncomfortable to talk about. Through HJR 2, Stoddard said he hopes to offer healing support to victims. 

“The bill doesn’t necessarily have any action points, other than just to provide that encouragement that we as a community, as a society talk more about the effects of child sexual abuse,” he said.

Although the resolution doesn’t initiate immediate action, the legislation would encourage local government to seek increased opportunities to talk about the causes and effects of child sexual abuse. 

Child sexual abuse bill in America and Utah 

The bill states it’s a national issue, as 1 in 9 girls under age 18 experience sexual abuse or assault, according to research from the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. The same is true for 1 in 53 boys under age 18. 

In Utah, it’s estimated that 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused by the time they’re 18, according to a 2007 study from the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice. This leads to a cost of roughly $1 billion each year.

The same study showed that all of the victims in the study, roughly 75% were assaulted before they turned 18. 

“It’s something that unfortunately happens more than we want to admit, and I think it happens more often because we’re not willing to talk about it,” Stoddard said. “I think it would be helpful as a community to talk about it to promote healing and make it more accepted that there are victims of this. [Then] they can move on and we can continue to fight this awful crime that’s happening.”

The bill advocates for further study of child sexual abuse to prevent it from happening. According to the legislation, raising awareness is crucial in prevention. 

“I hope for a mental change,” Stoddard said. “As a society, we can talk about these things more so we can deal with them more openly.” 

Related Stories:

Proposed bill encourages schools with Native American mascots to ‘retire’ symbol

Utah bill allowing any doctor to recommend medical marijuana prompts concern among some experts

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

All News

Visitors stand at the closed gates leading to the Eiffel Tower, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 in Paris....

Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: The Paris Olympics might stink

When it rains in Paris… things take a dark turn.

30 minutes ago

Two horses on the loose bolt through the streets of London near Aldwych, on Wednesday April 24, 202...

Pan Pylas, Associated Press

Rush hour chaos in London as 5 military horses run amok after getting spooked during exercise

LONDON (AP) — Five military horses spooked by noise from a building site bolted during routine exercises on Wednesday near Buckingham Palace, threw off four riders and caused chaos as they galloped loose through central London streets and collided with vehicles during the busy morning rush hour. The commotion erupted when the horses from the […]

7 hours ago

House Speaker Mike Johnson talks to the press after the House passed four foreign aid bills at the ...

Haley Talbot, Lauren Fox and Clare Foran, CNN

Johnson calls on Columbia University president to resign during tense news conference

House Speaker Mike Johnson called on Columbia University’s president to resign Wednesday during a tense news conference.

9 hours ago

Agriculture officials said the fire most likely started after a piece of equipment malfunctioned at...

Emma Keddington and Simone Seikaly

Equipment malfunction suspected after fire at Utah egg farm

A 21,000 square foot barn at Oakdell Egg Farms quickly caught fire when a power washer caught fire.

9 hours ago

FILE: An arson investigation is underway after several suspicious fires in Salt Lake City on Tuesda...

Britt Johnson

Salt Lake City Fire conduct arson investigation Tuesday morning

An arson investigation is underway after several suspicious fires in Salt Lake City on Tuesday.

11 hours ago

Wine bottles are pictured at a state liquor store in Salt Lake City on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020....

Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: How people get drunk WITHOUT drinking

Try explaining this condition to a cop.

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

Lawmaker hopes for ‘mental change’ to prevent child sexual abuse through bill