Battling for the rights of therapist abuse victims, steadfast advocate Heather Lynette Sinclair was last seen at the Maryland State House as Governor Martin O’Malley signed HB 56, her bill requiring background checks of mental health professionals, into law. Knowing her work had just begun, she exited the building determined to thrust forward with her work to criminalize therapist abuse in the state of Maryland and support those in other states pressing for similar legislation.
Celebrating her twenty-eighth birthday today, Sinclair vows, “This will be a year of no silence, no excuses, and no fear.”
Through the Lynette’s Law movement, Sinclair has spent more than a year spreading awareness about therapist abuse and the methods some therapists use to exploit, manipulate, and sexually abuse their patients. Therapist abuse is already illegal in 26 states, but not Maryland, and in her crusade to fight for Maryland’s abuse victims Sinclair has heard, like a crescendo of raging waves, scores of horrific therapist abuse stories from victims in other states. This has motivated her to begin forming a national non-profit organization known as the National Alliance Against Exploitation by Professionals (NAAEP, pronounced N-double-A-E-P).
Sinclair explains that the vision of her new organization will be to, “educate by spreading awareness, empowering victims by providing advocacy, and holding the mental health profession to the highest standards. The NAAEP will be the first of its kind in the nation.”
Utilizing her resourcefulness that enabled her HB 60 bill to criminalize therapist abuse to pass the House of Delegates unanimously, Sinclair’s NAAEP will advocate for victims and push for criminalization in other states as well. Her performance before the House Judiciary Committee was exceptional as she pounded the panel with information about 21 recent therapist abuse cases in the state, thoroughly embarrassing the Maryland Board of Professional Therapists and Counselors who only testified about five. It’s this type of passion and conviction that Sinclair will use to help victims around the country through NAAEP.
The aforementioned HB 60 only didn’t make it out of the Senate because Judicial Proceedings chairman Brian Frosh (D-Montgomery) drawer vetoed it, disabling the bill from being voted upon, but Sinclair is confident that with a larger outpouring of education on therapist abuse and the effects it has on the lives of its victims and their families that this bill will be passed in the next session. That will remain Sinclair’s focus this year through Lynette’s Law.
It will be a very busy year for the courageous and determined woman, fighting both locally and nationally for the voices of victims to be heard. “I speak for every single one of those that want to make this a crime,” states Sinclair. “I’m excited to be embarking on this journey, uniting with other advocates and therapist abuse victims around the country to create a national advocacy program to support people exploited by mental health professionals.”
For more information about Heather Sinclair, Lynette’s Law, and the NAAEP, please visit http://www.lynetteslaw4maryland.com