Law & Order: SVU's Dr. Warner Advocates for Real Kids

Played by Tamara Tunie, Dr. Warner is a medical examiner with the Special Victims Unit, a group that investigates fictional crimes of abuse on the popular television show, Law & Order: SVU. Giving her statement at a very real Congressional staff briefing yesterday on Capitol Hill, Ms. Tunie said, “Sometimes these ‘Special Victims’ are children who have been abused or killed. I became involved…when I learned of the staggering numbers of children killed every day in real life!”

Tamara Tunie is the spokesperson for the National Coalition to End Child Abuse Deaths, a group of five organizations, including Every Child Matters, who organized in 2009 to draw attention to and help prevent the 2,500 child abuse deaths each year in the United States.

The Coalition hosted the staff briefing to provide information on child abuse and neglect deaths and to deliver a petition containing over 8,000 signatures of Americans who are urging Congress to act on the issue. Ms. Tunie delivered the petition to Representative David Camp (R-Michigan), honorary sponsor of the event and Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, saying, “I am here today on Capitol Hill to help bring attention to these tragic, unnecessary, and preventable deaths. I stand before you, not only as the Coalition Spokesperson, but also on behalf of the 7 children who will be killed today by someone who is supposed to love and protect them …”.

During the briefing, Chairman Camp announced that he would call for a hearing on child abuse fatalities and that it would be held early this summer. He said, “Given the importance of this issue to our efforts to better protect children, we need better information about and more accurate reporting of the number of fatalities, the circumstances surrounding these fatalities or near fatalities, as well as the causes of these tragic events.”

In a question and answer period following the presentations, ECM’s President Michael Petit asked Chairman Camp about the projected budget cuts and whether or not children would be held harmless. Click here for Mr. Petit’s question and Chairman Camp’s response.

For more information about the Coalition, the various speaker’s remarks, and the presentation of the petition by Ms. Tunie to Chairman Camp, click here.