A Call to Action for Policymakers and Advocates: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Legislation in the States
In 2022, When You Consider Making a Donation, Choose Kids—Choose MassKids
Dear Friend of Children:
Reflecting back on 2021, MassKids is proud of its accomplishments for children and that we met the additional challenges caused by the pandemic.
Shifting our in-person trainings to virtual webinars, we succeeded in training hundreds of school and youth leaders about child sexual abuse and how to implement specific policies to prevent it.
Our Enough! online course on child sexual abuse prevention and its robust bank of resources reached over 2,000 school employees this year and feedback has been over the moon. One teacher in Lowell wrote: “I have been a teacher for over 30 years and this training was one of, if not THE BEST, trainings I have ever taken.”
In 2022, we will develop a new course to help parents and child-serving professionals learn how to identify and respond to sexual abuse committed by youth against youth, and we will release a model Code of Conduct for schools that reviewers have called “…a breakthrough piece of work.”
In June we issued “A Call to Action for Policymakers and Advocates,” the only resource in the country to track child sexual abuse prevention legislation in all 50 states and to recommend model provisions that every state should adopt. Over 80 advocates from 25 states learned how to push for prevention legislation through our 3-part Webinar Series and, in 2022, technical assistance opportunities will be available through MassKids’ bimonthly State Policy Exchange meetings.
We led the “Pass the Prevention Package!” campaign to enact legislation that would mandate training of all school and youth organization employees; significantly improve screening of job applicants; prohibit confidentiality agreements and practices that would allow employees engaged in sexual misconduct from securing positions in other schools; and close the Age of Consent loophole so abusers can’t claim sexual relationships with students over 16 are consensual. In 2022, we will work tirelessly to ensure these bills pass and that Massachusetts children are the safest in any state from sexual abuse.
MassKids is a small organization with a 60-year history of effective advocacy on behalf of our state’s most vulnerable children. Every dollar raised is spent strategically for the greatest impact. In 2022, join us in the movement to prevent child sexual abuse by making a gift to MassKids. Help us reach our shared goals for more children and faster!
MassKids and its Enough Abuse Campaign, in collaboration with Prevent Child Abuse America, released in June, "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 December 8th, 2021 to include recently passed legislation in Florida, Colorado and Illinois.
Please note: the PDF has been bookmarked for ease of navigation. You may utilize the bookmarks to move through the report by clicking on the bookmark symbol on the left if viewing it in your browser, or by downloading the PDF and opening it a PDF reader such as Adobe Acrobat.
This report was designed by Graphix for Change.
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 15 months participated in in-person and remote trainings delivered by MassKids about child sexual abuse and prevention policies.
105 schools with over 7,000 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.
1,306 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 are partnering with MassKids to promote Pledge to Prevent™ and other prevention initiatives.
200,000 unique visitors made 350,000 visits and 4 million hits on our MassKids and Enough Abuse websites over the past 2 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 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.
11 media interviews were conducted and news articles published about our work over the past 15 months.
Protecting Children and Preventing Abuse During the Covid-19 Pandemic
The world is facing an unprecedented situation with the COVID-19 pandemic causing the closure of schools, after-school programs, day-care centers, and youth-serving organizations. Parents may be trying to work from home while helping homeschool children, filing for unemployment or going without any income at all if they are not eligible. Many of them are scrambling to find childcare while risking their lives performing "essential jobs" in their communities. 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 are being challenged to cope with the even greater demands the pandemic is placing on everyone.
Our Massachusetts Resource Guide for Parents and Caregivers: Caring For Children During the COVID-19 Pandemic can help raise awareness about the increased risk to children of abuse and neglect during this time, and provide support to parents and other caregivers to help keep children safe.
Lifelines for Students At Risk of Abuse
For the first time ever, rape crisis hotlines across the country are reporting a significant increase in calls from children and youth. The vast majority of these callers report they are living with the person who is hurting them. For many children, lack of access to their teachers, school nurses, social workers, counselors, and coaches means they may not have anyone outside their home they can confide in. As a result, reports of child abuse and neglect to the Department for Children and Families (DCF) have fallen sharply since stay-at-home orders were issued.
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-at-Risk 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.
Since physical distribution of the remaining 4,500 posters to all 1,850 public schools is on hold during the pandemic, MassKids is 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 even during this isolating period, 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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