A Call to Action for Policymakers and Advocates: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Legislation in the States
Massachusetts Citizens for Children (MassKids) is the oldest state-based child advocacy organization in the country. Our mission is to improve the lives of the state's most vulnerable children and youth through advocacy by concerned citizens. Since the mid-70s, we have been committed to preventing the abuse and neglect of our state's children. Since 2002, we have been a leader in the field of child sexual abuse prevention through our Enough Abuse Campaign. We are providing adults and communities with the knowledge and skills they need to put an end to the silence, and eventually, the epidemic of child sexual abuse. To learn more, visit https://enoughabuse.org/.
To ensure better and fairer outcomes for all our children, we commit to involving and reflecting the diverse communities we serve; adopting policies that support equity; and practices that value and respect everyone.
MassKids and its Enough Abuse Campaign, in collaboration with Prevent Child Abuse America, released in June 2021, "A Call to Action for Policymakers and Advocates: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Legislation in the States". We review five laws aimed at preventing sexual abuse through school-based initiatives and provide an overview of each state’s legislative efforts. We discuss emerging trends and propose a set of recommendations to enhance current state legislative efforts, and to build a national infrastructure to coordinate and support implementation of targeted prevention actions in schools, youth organizations and communities across the states. This report has been updated as of July 2022 to include recently passed legislation in Florida, Colorado and Illinois.
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MassKids — a small organization making a BIG impact.
MassKids is making great strides to educate parents, schools, youth organizations and the public about child sexual abuse and ways to prevent it but we need YOUR support to reach our goals for children faster.
Make a personally significant gift to support our cutting-edge work. We make every dollar count for the kids.
Here’s a look at MassKids BY THE NUMBERS….
1,200 school and youth organization leaders over the past two years have participated in in-person and remote trainings delivered by MassKids about child sexual abuse and prevention policies.
150 schools with over 12,000 school administrators, teachers, coaches and other employees have completed our “ENOUGH!” 1-hour e-learning course on child sexual abuse prevention.
8 research-based and evidence-informed curricula are now included in our comprehensive inventory of training tools. The U.S. Department of Justice this year hailed our online course for schools as an effective crime prevention tool.
1,500 school and youth organization leaders have received our “Safe Child Standards” report to improve their policies to protect children from sexual abuse.
400 school and youth organization leaders were trained at our 3 annual New England Region-wide Summits on child sexual abuse prevention.
1,632 citizens to date have participated in our Pledge to Prevent™ online campaign and taken specific actions to prevent child sexual abuse in their homes and communities;
6 Universities - Tufts, Northeastern, Harvard, MIT, Columbia and Boston Universities have partnered with MassKids to promote Pledge to Prevent™ and other prevention initiatives.
880,000 unique visitors made 3.8 million visits on our MassKids and Enough Abuse websites over the past 2.5 years.
8 states and 2 countries have formally adopted our Enough Abuse Campaign, building coalitions, educating parents, training professionals, promoting prevention policies for schools and youth organizations, and passing legislation to address the problem.
4 interactive maps of the U.S. on www.enoughabuse.org document the latest information on the status of child sexual abuse prevention legislation in all 50 states.
1.3 million training videos and teaching brochures on Shaken Baby Prevention have been distributed to date to community organizations, parents of newborns, and major hospitals, including - Beth Israel, Brigham and Women’s, Mass General, and UMass Memorial.
16 media interviews were conducted and news articles published about our work since 2020.
Protecting Children and Preventing Abuse During the Covid-19 Pandemic
The world faced an unprecedented situation with the COVID-19 pandemic causing the closure of schools, after-school programs, day-care centers, and youth-serving organizations. Parents were trying to work from home while helping homeschool children, filing for unemployment or going without any income at all if they were not eligible. With the added emotional and financial stress and lack of access to the usual outside support networks of educators, social workers, childcare workers, after-school program staff, and counselors at youth-serving organizations, parents were challenged to cope with the even greater demands the pandemic placed on everyone.
Our Massachusetts Resource Guide for Parents and Caregivers: Caring For Children During the COVID-19 Pandemic helped raise awareness about the increased risk to children of abuse and neglect during the pandemic, and provided support to parents and other caregivers to help keep children safe.
Lifelines for Students At Risk of Abuse
Before the pandemic, MassKids had developed a Student Safety Poster to encourage students who feel unsafe to tell a trusted adult or call the Child Abuse Emergency Line. Endorsed by the MA Association of School Superintendents and the MA School Nurse Organization, over 500 posters (18"x24") were posted in schools across the state in January 2020, and while distribution has been slowed by the pandemic, we continue to make these posters available to schools.
MassKids is also sending the electronic 8.5"x11" flyer version of the poster to schools. We are encouraging them to post it on their web homepages, and send it directly to students, if possible, to let children know that schools are serious about protecting their students from any form of abuse.
Download the Student Safety Flyer and distribute it widely to your school.
If you choose to support MassKids, know that you are building the movement to ensure each child’s right to a safe and healthy childhood – one free from the devastating and life-long impact of child sexual abuse.
The youth chorus from Framingham schools that performed at our previous conferences said it best:
Stop the hurt before it starts. We don’t need more broken hearts.
Our kids should grow up fine and free. It’s up to you and me!
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