A measure aimed at protecting children of military families is heading to the president’s desk for his signature.
“Talia’s Law” passed the U.S. Senate last week as part of the National Defense Authorization Act.
The law would require service members and their children to immediately report child abuse to their installation and to the state Child Protective Services.
The law is in honor of 5-year-old Talia Williams, who was beaten to death in 2008 by her father, then-Army soldier Naeem Williams, after years of abuse. He was stationed at Schofield Barracks at the time.
“I hate that she went through what she went through,” said Talia’s mother, Tarshia Hampton, “but I would tell her that Mommy tried real hard to get this passed so it wouldn’t happen to another child, and they wouldn’t have to go through the pain that you went through.”
“The child was taken to the emergency room and the military doctor looked at her and the child reported to the physician that… her welts and bruises were inflicted by her father and, of course, the father denied it and the doctor concluded that child was making it up,” said attorney Mark Davis.
Williams was sentenced to life in prison in February 2015. Talia’s stepmother, Delilah Williams, admitted guilt in a plea deal. She is currently serving a 20-year sentence.
Talia’s Law was introduced by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and unanimously passed by the U.S. House in February.
“While this cannot right the wrongs that failed to protect Talia, this action honors her life by making long-overdue changes to get military children, and their families, the support and care they need and deserve,” said Gabbard.
Gabbard and Sen. Mazie Hirono worked to include Talia’s Law in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act.