|Topics:||Law Enforcement, Adoption, Child Abuse, Childhood, Domestic Violence|
Table of Contents
The Jacob’s law opened a Pandora’s Box in the custody laws of Minnesota. As the practice was before the present case, only parents with custody of the child would be informed if the child in question happened to be a victim of abuse, neglect or sexual assault, notable loopholes were exposed after the Jacob Gould’s story. Molested severally at the age of six, Jacob would go through the pain and suffering in silence for a span of four years. The police having suspected that the child might have been a victim of abuse informed the father who despite promising to enforce charges against the perpetrator failed to do so. The burden of such physical and mental abuse being so heavy on a young boy, Jacob opened up and told his mother who went on an awareness program and subsequent petition that brought about the revamp in laws protecting children against abuse in the State of Minnesota (Karmen, 2012). The bill was signed into law by Governor Mark Dayton on April 4th, 2012 and came into effect on July 1st, 2012.
In 2005, Jacob Gould then 6 years old had gone to visit his father in cottonwood when he was severally sexually assaulted by an eleven year old neighbor who threatened to slit his throat if he ever opened his mouth. The 11 year old had been involved in other related cases and had been on police radar for a while then. During police investigations, they informed Jacob’s father of the danger they suspected his son was being exposed to but the father never took the matter seriously. Four years later, Jacob opened up to his mother who sounded the alarm on the loophole in Minnesota laws regarding protection of the child from abuse, neglect and sexual assault (Campbell, 2013).
Importance of Jacob’s Law
This law is very important as it sealed the loopholes that were evident in Minnesota laws that both parents need not be told of abuse predating on their children, this was achieved via expansion of notification requirements to include both parents. Furthermore, these provisions below were inculcated into the new victim’s rights in Minnesota (Meloy, Boatwright & Curtis, 2013.):
- Requirement that parents whether with or without custody of the child to notify the other of maltreatment occasioned upon their child.
- Requirement that either parent notify the other parent the name of the enforcement agency or other agency assigned to the case of their child.
- Absolution of a parent from the duty of notifying the parent who is the alleged perpetrator of the crime.
- Stipulation that there will be no duty to notify parent who happens to be a culprit of matrimonial squabbles.
- In a scenario where one is involved in domestic violence and the other party is aware, he or she must send notification to the designated address.
- Third party notification is only allowed where there is a law prohibiting communication between parties or a court order to the same effect.
In light of the foregoing circumstances, the state of Minnesota deemed it fit to name the law after Jacob Gould in honor of his bravery to come out and expose the deficiencies of the law with respect to abuse, neglect and sexual assault occasioned on vulnerable children. Jacob’s law will guard against abuse of children in future and ensure that even children growing up in broken families are afforded equal protection under the law.
- Campbell, J. (2013). Unprotected Class: Five Decisions, Five Justices, and Wholesale Change to Class Action Law. Wyo. L. Rev., 13, 463.
- Karmen, A. (2012). Crime victi ms: An introduction to victimology. Cengage Learning.
- Meloy, M., Boatwright, J., & Curtis, K. (2013). Views from the top and bottom: Lawmakers and practitioners discuss sex offender laws. American Journal of Criminal Justice, 38(4), 616-638.