The need for child sexual abuse legislation

On April 30, D2L held its very first Reddit AMA on child sexual abuse prevention in honor of Child Abuse Awareness Month. We received many great questions that will be featured in our May blog series.

QUESTION

Do you think the government should mandate preventative education for K-8?

OUR ANSWER

Over the past few years, we’ve seen much more governmental involvement and interest in child sexual abuse legislation. This is certainly one avenue to prevention and early intervention, and lately there has been some success with initiatives for prevention programs developed for children.

Mandates should also include adult-focused prevention, especially in the field of education. Child sexual abuse prevention is primarily an adult responsibility. There is no doubt that children need to understand concepts like physical boundaries, appropriate touch, and reporting uncomfortable situations or actual abuse to a trusted adult. But no matter how much education children receive, they cannot always fend off unwanted advances or overcome threats and manipulation – things at which abusers excel.

Adults are uniquely positioned to protect kids by creating environments that are as safe as possible. We should equip kids with the knowledge to understand abuse and to protect themselves, and then we should do everything in our power to ensure they never have to use this knowledge.

Ideal mandates would take this into account and focus on prevention and response education for youth workers. Mandated reporting is not enough – there must be a strong element of prevention included. We mention educators, specifically. This is because educators identify 52% of all identified child abuse cases, more than any other profession including child protective services agencies and the police. Teachers may be the single best protection network children have, and yet two-thirds of them have not received training in how to prevent, recognize, and report child sexual abuse.

All of these options are part of a comprehensive system to prevent child sexual abuse. Ideally, every government, community, and parent would recognize the importance of protecting children from sexual abuse. Cultural change requires a team effort.

4 Responses to The need for child sexual abuse legislation

  • Joyce Moore says:

    The last sentence of this post haunts me, “Cultural change requires a team effort.” As a therapist, advocate, and parent of an abused child, I am intensely motivated to get the message out about how protecting our children from sexual abuse and responding appropriately is EVERY ADULT’s responsibility. After my efforts have been met with a ‘meh’ response, at best, I have pondered why getting adults to talk about the subject, let alone engage in meaningful dialogue around the topic, is like “pulling teeth.” I believe the new Darkness to Light video has done a great job with shining a light on the inter sanctum of psyche surrounding our own internal beliefs about sexuality. I believe the darkness that is being exposed to the light is a very scary place for most people. I will never give up in my efforts to keep pursuing the darkness, regardless of what I may find in there.

  • Sonya McTillman says:

    I am a firm believer in mandated abuse prevention education for teachers and students. As a classroom educator who now advocates and teaches abuse prevention, I know the impact and connection that classroom teachers have with their students. After having child sexual abuse impact my family I began to move towards using my experience as a public school teacher to educate others about child sexual abuse. Over the past few years I have gone from being trained as a Steward of Children, to becoming a facilitator for Darkness to Light, while leading the efforts in my state to get Erin’s Law into legislation. Erin’s Law requires public school systems to teach such prevention skills not only to students, but the law also mandates that educators undergo training (Stewards of Children of course is my recommendation) as well. Next month I go before the North Carolina State Legislature as a parent of a survivor, as an educator and as a D2L Facilitator to urge our lawmakers to give the children and the educators in my state the skills they need to keep North Carolina’s children safe. I serve on the National Planning Committee for Million March Against Child Abuse (MACA) and with the support of my MACA family, our state Darkness to Light/YMCA and other advocates and abuse prevention folks I’ll eagerly go to our state capitol next month anticipating that NC will join the other 14 states that have passed Erin’s Law and the other 27 states that will be voting on it in the current legislative year. I know firsthand the power of not only educating parents and educators, but empowering students as well. This combination of parent/educator and child/student training gave my daughter the confidence to speak up and saved her from potentially years of abuse. My only option is to advocate for state mandated legislation.

  • Kari McDonald WA state says:

    Prevention education kindergarden pre-school even. Nice/naughty touch taught at a childs level. This typ of education is a MUST!

    I am not able to find stand up people for the children first. It seems speaking out against child sexual abuse is more taboo.

    Some children think child sexual abuse is normal…Stockholme syndrome applies in cases…When a child is more afraid of a parent finding out you spoke of your abuse to someone else -that in my opinion would speak volumes. Red Flags pile up!

    WE need more mandated to do their duty for children first…Judges who learn about child sexual abuse from victims in family should always do what is best in safety, health, well being and protection for these victims and future victims. Accountability is absolutely needed! Children and families are being placed in harms way having to be quiet fending for themselves.

    WE NEED
    Families Better Interest Facts for children protection first -resources investigated and uncovered in order to protect children and families NOW not later when all is more lost. True voices for every child!!

  • Pingback: The Need For Child Abuse Education | Andrew Jarecki Lies

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