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Our Opinion: Laws diverge on protecting the vulnerable

Our Opinion: Laws diverge on protecting the vulnerable

October 14th, 2011 in News

Victimizing people who are vulnerable is among the most despicable actions imaginable.

Two recent news stories both involve victims, but contrasting applications of the law.

A new law offers greater protections for foster children, but possible repeal of an existing law invites greater jeopardy for victims of domestic violence.

A story in Monday's edition focuses on a new federal law to protect foster children from identity theft.

The Associated Press story reports: "Children, and particularly foster children, make great targets for identity thieves, child welfare officials and researchers say. Too young to take out a loan or credit card, they have Social Security numbers that are a clean slate, ripe for exploitation. Children aren't likely to realize their identity has been stolen until they grow up and apply for credit."

Such exploitation is heinous; it further victimizes children struggling for stability as they are shuttled among state facilities and foster homes in search of a forever family.

Under the new federal law, states will be required to run credit checks on older foster children and help resolve cases of identity theft.

A separate story, in Wednesday's edition, describes an effort in Topeka, Kan., to repeal an ordinance against domestic violence.

Recent cases have been dismissed by prosecutors and the city officials repealed the ordinance this week. The district attorney contends his decision was forced by a 10 percent budget cut.

These developments raise two possibilities.

City officials are willing to decriminalize violent behavior, which is nonsensical, or - and we hope this is the case - the maneuver is a ploy to restore budget cuts.

In either case, the leader of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence was on target when she called it "playing a game of chicken with people's lives."

We fail to understand how any person elected to make laws or sworn to uphold them can abandon victims who are intimidated, abused and beaten in their own homes.