Stop the Hurt Before it Starts
While news about child sexual abuse continues to take center stage across our country, MassKids is providing solid leadership to address a problem the AMA has aptly labeled, “a silent, violent epidemic.” Your support will ensure that our prevention education and policy work reaches more families, schools, youth organizations, and communities to prevent child sexual abuse from ever occurring.
Consider the headlines dominating our news recently:
- The child sexual abuse crisis in the Church, the Sandusky/Penn State scandal, and other crises brought the topic of child sexual abuse into the public conversation after decades of silence and cover-up,.
- High profile cases involving rapper R. Kelley, former U.S. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, Jerry Epstein, etc. have continued to put a spotlight on the problem.
- Larry Nasser, a U.S. Gymnastics national team doctor, was found guilty of sexual abuse against more than 250 young girl athletes.
- A Pennsylvania report documented over 1,000 children sexually abused by over 300 priests across the state over several decades.
- In an unprecedented move, New Hampshire’s Attorney General threatened multiple criminal charges against a private school unless it agreed to a 5-year plan of corrective action for egregious sexual abuse of students by several faculty members.
- The Kavanaugh hearings, and the gripping testimony of Professor Christine Blasey Ford, shed a harsh light on the growing problem of sexual abuse by youth against youth.
While the #MeToo movement created a ripple effect, triggering new reports of sexual assaults of adults in the workplace, MassKids is working to prevent sexual assaults against children in their "workplaces," that is, in the places where they live and learn and play. The trauma and significant impact of sexual abuse on children’s physical and mental health, social-emotional growth, learning, and academic success compels us to act.
MassKids has made great strides in 2019 to educate parents, schools, youth organizations and the public about child sexual abuse and ways to prevent it.
- 8 states have now 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.
- Over 3,300 school employees have completed “Enough!” - MassKids’ 1-hour, online, evidence-informed training developed specifically for schools. Burlington, Longmeadow, Barnstable, Dracut, Auburn, Deerfield Academy, Noble & Greenough, Newman School, Greenfield, St. George’s (RI), Episcopal High School (VA), etc., are among the first to adopt the course. Leaders in several other schools across the country are currently previewing it.
- 7 research-based and evidence-informed curricula are now included in our comprehensive inventory of training tools. Our online course for schools was hailed this year as an effective crime prevention tool by the U.S. Department of Justice.
- 600 individuals participated in direct trainings that we delivered in person this year to schools and youth-serving organization leaders and staff.
- Pledge to Prevent™, MassKids’ online campaign for action to prevent child sexual abuse, is being promoted by several national organizations who are our "Pledge Partners", as well as groups of college students and individuals. Our goal is to educate and empower thousands of citizens nationwide to take specific, practical actions to prevent child sexual abuse. We are planning for a national launch in April, Child Abuse Prevention Month.
- MassKids has developed an online, interactive MAPS resource, the most up-to-date and accurate tracking of legislation which mandates schools to train their staffs on child sexual abuse, and prohibits them from aiding and abetting an employee engaged in sexual misconduct from securing a position in another school.
MassKids is making progress on this difficult front but we need your support to reach our goals for children faster. Here are some ways you can help:
- Choose MassKids as your priority charity this Holiday season and make a personally significant gift to support our cutting-edge work. Your dollars go far as more than 90% of funds go directly to support our prevention programs.
- Reach out to the schools or youth organizations in your community. Encourage them to engage MassKids in training their staffs and in developing their safe child policies.
- Serve on one of our work groups to help develop resources for parents whose children with disabilities are at significantly higher risk for sexual abuse.
- Become an ambassador to bring the Enough Abuse Campaign to your community, or a certified trainer to provide your community with information about how to keep kids safe.
- Promote the Pledge to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse with your network and Take the Pledge!
Whatever you choose to do, 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!
To See and Support Our Plans for 2020 - Click HERE!