OAASIS is building a movement that empowers communities to prevent child sexual abuse and help survivors live full, healthy, joyful lives. We are working towards a future where all people experience a loving childhood free of abuse and trauma; all relationships are based on equity and respect; and all people who have been sexually abused are supported to heal.
We know that our communities’ systems and structures can make it easier (or more difficult) to achieve this future. We also know that our systems and structures are designed and implemented by people–people who are accountable to the communities they serve. OAASIS works to build relationships with people in positions of power and people impacted by child sexual abuse in the community.
Here’s a snapshot of some of our advocacy work. Real survivors, survivors’ loved ones, and caring community members helped to create real change.
2019 Legislative Session
Investing in crime victim services (HB 5515): A survivor’s healing process often develops over the course of a lifetime and is often facilitated by professional support. For many people who were sexually abused as children, this support is found through Oregon’s domestic and sexual violence services programs and child abuse intervention centers. We are advocating for a $10 million increase for domestic and sexual violence services and a $6 million increase for child abuse intervention centers.Supporting safe, stable housing (SB 608): SB 608 will ensure that tenants can only be evicted for cause and local communities can address the housing crisis in the way that works best for that community. This legislation provides more stability and greater safety to Oregon families, including families that need to focus on the health and safety of children who have been sexually abused—not on scrambling to find a new safe, affordable place to call home. Passed.Expanding access to safety and services (HB 3180 -2 amendment): The -2 amendment to HB 3180 will enable 1,220 more children each year to receive safe, trauma-informed medical assessments, forensic interviews, and opportunities for healing support.
Preventing Child Sexual Abuse
Growing a generation of Oregonians engaged in safe, healthy relationships (HB 2657): Oregon can prevent sexual violence. But only if we invest in helping Oregon’s youth to understand, identify, and engage in healthy relationships. HB 2657 will invest $3 million in dedicated funding source to ensure greater capacity for community-based non-profits, culturally specific, and tribal programs to implement violence prevention education in K-12 and other community settings.
Ensuring ethical, evidence-based offender treatment (HB 2472): As OAASIS works to prevent child sexual abuse and help survivors heal, we understand we need to support structures that hold people who have committed child sexual abuse accountable in ways that value their humanity; gives them the help they need to not harm again; and promotes a safe, healthy, and inclusive community. HB 2472 will ensure that sex offense specific treatment providers are certified, appropriately trained, and adhere to up-to-date standards of practice that are ethical and evidence-based. HB 2472 also provides a minor language update that will have significant meaning for survivors: renaming the “Sex Offender Treatment Board” to the “Sex Offense Treatment Board” and making similar changes to terminology within designations and titles. For survivors, this distinction is important. This change from “sex offender’ to “sex offense” reflects the broader scope of people who have abused, whether or not they have been adjudicated. And this change may help remove a barrier to survivors reporting the abuse or seeking help, since most survivors know, trust, and even love the person who abused them and have difficulty seeing that person as a “sex offender.” Clarifying the language and focusing on the abusive behavior will allow more survivors to seek safety and support.
Understanding the prevalence of child abuse (HB 3180 -2 amendment): With the Oregon Child Abuse Prevalence Study (OCAPS), Oregon will become the first state to develop an effective way to collect prevalence data to more accurately reflect the problem of child abuse and neglect. Currently, policy makers have to rely on reported incidents of abuse and neglect. But reporting rates reflect a fraction of the overall problem. OCAPS is a scientifically-sound, successfully-piloted measurement strategy that will get Oregon the information we need.
Justice for Survivors
Honoring survivors' voices (HB 2014): HB 2014 ensures that people who were sexually abused as children can hold the people who abused them accountable, as well as the institutions/organizations that knowingly allowed offenders to be around our vulnerable children. HB 2014 restores the power of juries in civil court to hear the facts of the case and determine case-by-case justice instead of applying a one-size-fits-all limit on what a jury can determine is fair and just.
Removing barriers to incarcerated survivors reentering communities (HB 2631): Women are the fastest growing prison population in the United States. For a majority of women who are incarcerated, the experiences that preceded their incarceration were filled with violence and trauma. A 2006 study found that 96% of juvenile female offenders in Oregon were sexually abused prior to entering prison; 76% of these young women were sexually or physically abused before they were 13 years old. Nationally, women in prison are twice as likely as women in the general population to report having been sexually or physically abused as children. This correlation is so common it’s often referred to as the “sexual abuse to prison pipeline.” HB 2631 will provide incarcerated women needed support as they reintegrate back into our communities across Oregon. The civil legal services that will be provided through HB 2631 will help provide formerly-incarcerated women safety, stability, and connection. These services can help formerly-incarcerated women continue their healing journeys and give them a better ability to thrive.
Advancing equity in Oregon's justice system (HB 3064): OAASIS has supported Justice Reinvestment in Oregon for years. Because of Justice Reinvestment and a 2017 update, Oregon has kept two state prisons closed while holding people appropriately accountable for harm, maintaining public safety, and expanding crime survivor services. Justice Reinvestment is a success. But like all good policies, Justice Reinvestment needs to be updated. HB 3064 provides for more effective oversight and stewardship of how counties reduce prison use. HB 3064 will also allow Oregon to more effectively and equitably reach historically underserved communities, which experience additional barriers to success. Our criminal justice system must reduce disparities in historically underserved communities including communities of color, women, LGBTQ people, and rural and tribal communities. An Equity Advisory Committee will make recommendations on how the Justice Reinvestment program can be updated to make our state is fairer and more equitable.
Strengthening community safety (SB 5506): Justice Reinvestment funding is an important part of building safe, healthy communities across Oregon and supporting survivors’ healing journeys. While many states have engaged in Justice Reinvestment processes, Oregon provided a national model by having counties allocate at least 10% of Justice Reinvestment funds to community-based nonprofit victim services programs. This funding has provided Oregonians greater access to domestic and sexual violence services, child abuse intervention centers, and other lifesaving programs for Oregonians in need of safety and support. OAASIS supports investing $49.5 million into Justice Reinvestment programs.
2017 Legislative Session
Investing in crime victim services (HB 5015 & HB 5005): A survivor’s healing process often develops over the course of a lifetime and is often facilitated by professional support. For many people who were sexually abused as children, this support is found through Oregon’s domestic and sexual violence services programs and child abuse intervention centers. Oregon's investment into these lifesaving services was continued and strengthened.Supporting safe, stable housing (HB 2004): HB 2004 will ensure that tenants can only be evicted for cause and local communities can address the housing crisis in the way that works best for that community. This smart legislation will provide more stability and greater safety to Oregon families, including families that need to focus on the health and safety of children who have been sexually abused—not on scrambling to find a new safe, affordable place to call home. Did not pass.Expanding access to safety and services (SB 795): SB 795 provides sexual assault survivors vital information and the ability to connect with advocacy services that foster healing from the trauma of sexual violence. SB 795 ensures a survivor of sexual assault is able to discuss their option to have advocacy services, in person, so the survivor can make an informed decision about their care. Allowing for an advocate to be present during an exam provides immediate support and presents the opportunity for survivors to be informed of additional resources that are available to them to assist in their recovery, including: the Address Confidentiality Program, Counseling resources, safety planning, Crime Victims' Compensation, and follow-up services to provide ongoing support. Passed.
Preventing Child Sexual Abuse
Growing a generation of Oregonians engaged in safe, healthy relationships (SB 318): SB 318 is an important step towards creating communities where young Oregonians are safe, informed, and supported in developing healthy relationships. SB 318 strengthens state-level violence prevention efforts in K-12 and improves community college response to interpersonal violence. In turn, more trustworthy adults are better able to support students to identify and develop healthy relationships, and more young Oregonians are able to life full, healthy, joyful lives. Did not pass.Ensuring ethical, evidence-based offender treatment (HB 2633): As OAASIS works to prevent child sexual abuse and help survivors heal, we understand we need to support structures that hold people who have committed child sexual abuse accountable in ways that value their humanity; gives them the help they need to not harm again; and promotes a safe, healthy, and inclusive community. HB 2633 provides the structure to ensure that sex offense specific treatment is ethical, evidence-based, follows updated standards of practice, and is offered by trained providers. Passed.
Justice for Survivors
Honoring survivors' voices (SB 737): SB 737 ensures that people who were sexually abused as children can hold the people who abused them accountable, as well as the institutions/organizations that knowingly allowed offenders to be around our vulnerable children. SB 737 restores the power of juries in civil court to hear the facts of the case and determine case-by-case justice instead of applying a one-size-fits-all limit on what a jury can determine is fair and just. Did not pass. Clarifying legal language (SB 247): SB 247 changes the names and title of the sexual acts defined in O.R.S. 163-305(1) from “deviate sexual intercourse” to “oral or anal sexual intercourse.” The term “deviate” is outdated and many survivors of sexual violence are offended by the term. SB 247 will provide clarity, as well as more neutral language. It provides the brave survivors who step forward to disclose sexual violence language that is clear, current, and less likely to cause offense. Passed.Removing barriers to survivors of sex trafficking (SB 249): Most children who are sexually abused are harmed by someone they know and trust; sometimes, this person is a family member. When home is a dangerous, confusing place, child sexual abuse survivors often face unthinkable options: remain engulfed in trauma at home or flee in an attempt to find safety. This, of course, puts young survivors in vulnerable positions, including an increased risk of sex trafficking. When survivors of sex trafficking—many of whom have been sexually abused over the course of their lives—are convicted of prostitution, they face additional barriers to living a safe, healthy life. The negative consequences of a conviction, as well as the stigma of prostitution, can create roadblocks to safe housing and fulfilling career options. The impacts of a prostitution conviction can follow a survivor of sex trafficking for their lifetime. SB 249 provides a thorough, thoughtful process to remove barriers to sex trafficking survivors’ success. Passed.Defending survivors of sex trafficking (SB 250): For so many children who are sexually abused, home is not safe and family members are not modeling healthy relationships. When home is a dangerous, confusing place, child sexual abuse survivors often face unthinkable options: remain engulfed in trauma at home or flee in an attempt to find safety. Too often, a cycle of sexual harm at home is replaced by a cycle of sexual harm outside of the home. SB 250 provides an affirmative defense to the crime of prostitution for victims of trafficking, described in O.R.S. 163.266 (1)(b) or (c). SB 250 is an important piece in our justice system’s ability to address sex trafficking and our communities’ ability to support survivors to live safe, full, healthy lives. Passed.
Strengthening community safety (HB 3078): There is a strong correlation between child sexual abuse and addiction, as survivors self-medicate to try to escape the pain. Most women who are incarcerated have histories of physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse. This trauma needs to be addressed through programs that support people to heal from the trauma of abuse. HB 3078 re-aligns some addiction-driven crimes and increases potential earned time. It averts the need for a second prison for women and helps more mothers form healthy bonds with their children. Passed.Providing privacy for vulnerable Oregonians (HB 3464): OAASIS supports dismantling barriers that place additional burdens on many people who were sexually abused as children, including Oregonians who were born in other countries. HB 3464 provides clarity to Oregon’s public employees on their role and what information is appropriate to share with federal officials. HB 3464 also reassures survivors of child sexual abuse and their supportive parents that they can access the justice system and safety-net services without having their private information used in ways that can cause harm. Passed.
Join Our Movement!
OAASIS is making an impact not only in the State of Oregon, but nationally! We are honored to collaborate with a growing national movement to end child sex abuse, and are doing our part here in Oregon. We need YOUR help!
If you’d like to join this movement, please provide us with your contact information so that we can keep you informed about what is happening to end child sex abuse in Oregon. We may occasionally call upon you to lend your voice and support when needed. Please stand with us to support survivors and protect children!