HI Congressional Delegation interested in Talia's Law - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

HI Congressional Delegation interested in Talia's Law

Talia Williams Talia Williams
Tarshia Williams knows the military failed her 5-year old daughter Talia. But she says a federal law named after the girl could keep the system from failing another abused child.

"I know it's probably going to be a long wait but this is the only thing I can do for her right now," Tarshia says.

Talia's Law was crafted by Tarshia, her attorney, and Susan Chandler -- former head of the Hawaii Department of Human Services.

Right now, military personnel who suspect child abuse are only required to report it to their supervisor and its supposed to continue up the chain of command.

Talia's Law would require reporting not only to the supervisor, but also to the state's Child Protective Services division.

"The mandatory report law in our state requires everyone to do that now, they just don't in the military. In the military they report to the next higher up," says Chandler.

While the proposed legislation is just a dream right now, attorney Mark Davis announced Wednesday that the process has started.

"Sending a letter and a package of documentation to the Secretary of Defense and to each of our four representatives in Congress and we hope they get behind this law," says Davis.

Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has not received the information yet but says she is very interested in learning more about Talia's Law.

"When we look at a tragic situation like this there's no question that we need to make changes to the status quo so that no other child and no other family is subjected to the situation that allowed this to occur," says Representative Gabbard.

Talia was tortured for months by her father, Schofield soldier Naeem Williams.

Teachers, doctors, even military police officers reported the abuse to their supervisors but nothing was done about it.

Talia died months after moving to Hawaii with her father.

"She's not here so I can't do (anything) else," says Tarshia, "So if I can help somebody else... get free from what's going on in their family."

The military's own investigation into the case showed major flaws with the system and called for better training. Chandler says training is good, but Talia's Law would also ensure that a CPS investigation is started.

Last week, the U.S. government settled a civil suit with Tarshia Williams over her daughter's death, agreeing to pay $2 million.

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