Voices from the Field

Remembering Talia

Hibiscus Flower in the sun

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”   —Maya Angelou


Today we remember, 5-year-old Talia Williams.  Thirteen years ago today, she passed away at the abusive hands of her father and stepmother on a military base in Hawaii.

Social change is sometimes rooted in social tragedy; the circumstances surrounding young Talia’s death are heartbreaking and disturbing, and sadly, they were also preventable.

Ten years after her death, Talia’s biological mother, Tarshia Williams and Representatives Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Mark Takai (D-HI) proposed federal legislation that has come to be known as “Talia’s Law.”

(Rep Gabbard introducing the bill: https://youtu.be/vGQPbo7lpuM)

The Talia Williams Child Abuse Notification Act (“Talia’s Law”) was passed in December 2016 and compels members of the armed forces, Department of Defense civilian employees or contractor employees to report any suspected abuse on a military post to State Child Protective Services in addition to military personnel.

As difficult as it is to discuss the uncomfortable truths about child abuse, the more informed we are, the more prepared we can be to prevent abuse and trauma for the next Talia.

The National Children’s Alliance (NCA) is the national, nonprofit association and accrediting body for a network of more than 850 Children’s Advocacy Centers (CAC) nationwide.  NCA is making strides to develop and improve CAC partnerships with military installations to increase child abuse investigative and intervention services to best serve the needs of military child abuse victims and their families.

Honor the memory of Talia Williams today by staying aware and informed on the signs of child abuse in your civilian or military community.


Captain Laura Hatcher, USN (Retired), successfully transitioned from Naval service in May 2018 and now serves with National Children’s Alliance. Laura specifically focuses on improving access to vital resources for DoD and military families. She looks forward to raising overall awareness about child abuse matters in the United States and its military community.