PEKIN- A local father is trying to change the law to make punishments harsher for child abusers.
Dozens of people rallied in front of the Tazewell County Courthouse Saturday, hoping to send a message to lawmakers.
Blake Smith said his 2-year-old daughter, Gracie, was left in the care of a friend of the child's mother. Smith said the man beat Gracie so badly, she was put into intensive care for four days.
That's why Smith said he's asking people to sign a petition asking that child abusers be treated like sex offenders. He wants them to have to register with law enforcement so that people can see if there is a child abuser in their community.
Gracie made a full recovery, but Smith said what happened to his daughter is more common that people think.
"She had abdominal trauma, the inside of her skull was all bruised and she was literally bruised head to toe. And when we were in the hospital they told us they see cases like this three to four times a day so this event here is mainly for my daughter, but it's also to raise awareness in the community about what's going on around us," Smith said.
Smith plans to send his petition to Representative Mike Unes, Congressman Aaron Schock and Governor Pat Quinn.
If you would like to find out more about his fight, visit the "Child Abuse Justice for Gracie" Facebook page.
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