Advocacy Group Wins Community Champion Award for Monumental Impact on Child Abuse Legislation

By Trish Svoboda

The Community Champion Award is given to an individual or group that has made a substantial impact in the lives of crime victims.

The group, Protecting KS Children from Sexual Predators, is led by Kim Bergman, Tess Ramirez, Lesa Patterson-Kinsey, and Joe Cherey. In 2023, they achieved a milestone by successfully advocating for the removal of the criminal statute of limitations for child sexual abuse. They also managed to extend the timeframe for survivors to file a civil lawsuit from the age of 21 to 31.

As part of their advocacy work, the group and other survivors established an information booth that operated multiple days a week throughout the legislative session. Their aim was to raise awareness among lawmakers and the public about child abuse. Each day they ran the booth, they were visited by other survivors who shared their experiences of abuse. These stories served as powerful motivation for the group to persist in their efforts to educate the public on the widespread issue of child sexual abuse in our communities.

Their proposal received unanimous support from legislators and was signed into law.

“These remarkable individuals have not only bravely shared their personal experiences of exploitation but have also been relentless in their pursuit of systemic change. Their tireless advocacy efforts have led to significant legislative reforms aimed at supporting survivors of childhood sexual abuse in our state,” said Kasey Dalke, executive director of the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Kansas.

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