Innovative Strategies to Prevent Educator Sexual Misconduct
A National Conference Hosted by Massachusetts Citizens for Children
and The National Center for Victims of Crime
DATE AND TIME: Friday, October 20, 2017
LOCATION: District Hall, 75 Norther Avenue, Boston, MA 02210
Who Should Attend: national and state education leaders, public school superintendents and principals, heads of private, independent schools, child sexual abuse prevention advocates, researchers, directors of schools of education and other strategic decision makers would all benefit from attending this national-level conference.
What You Will Learn: This convening of national and state leaders will explore the elements of a comprehensive set of child sexual abuse prevention policies and practices schools can implement to increase their protection from educator sexual misconduct and abuse. Through “TED Talk”-style presentations, theatrical vignettes, case presentations, real time audience surveys, and other innovative techniques, attendees will participate in interactive exchanges aimed at increasing their knowledge and skills about:
- Training of school employees to reduce adult perpetration and child-on-child sexual abuse
- Screening of prospective employees to avoid the hiring of sexually high-risk individuals
- Developing Codes of Conduct that detail prohibited boundary-violating behaviors
- Modifying physical spaces to reduce opportunities for sexual abuse to occur
- Handling suspected or disclosed cases of child sexual abuse to meet mandated reporting laws
In addition, participants will learn about:
- the latest research on the prevalence of educator sexual misconduct in U.S. schools;
- the new federal prohibition against “passing the trash” and confidential agreements aimed at suppressing investigations;
- lessons schools facing sexual abuse scandals are learning about the need for transparency; and
- model legislative efforts aimed at comprehensive prevention education within schools.
Accessibility: District Hall is a single story, fully accessible and ADA compliant building with easy access on Boston’s MBTA. We have two entrances. The Northern Ave. entrance has 3 stairs leading to the front door, as well as a ramp, and the Seaport Boulevard entrance has wide, street-level double doors.
MassKids is the oldest, statewide citizen-based child advocacy organization in the country. Its mission has been to research the pressing issues facing the state’s most vulnerable children and promote solutions to improve their lives. Throughout its 58-year history, MassKids’ hallmark has been its willingness to tackle the tough and complex issues affecting children.
It launched the first statewide media campaign on child sexual abuse in the country in the mid-80s and since then has fulfilled thousands of requests for prevention education and materials to parents and professionals. In the wake of the clergy sex abuse scandal in 2002, MassKids was already working to address a finding it made public in its earlier State Call to Action report that warned: “Massachusetts lacks a comprehensive, state-wide strategy to reduce sexual assaults against children …” That fall, MassKids was among only three grantees in the country chosen to receive a 5-year, $1.2 million grant from CDC to address the federal agency’s challenge to “build adult and community responsibility to prevent child sexual abuse.” With public and private collaborators, MassKids launched the Enough Abuse Campaign, a community mobilization and citizen education initiative which has been adopted now in eight states.
MassKids has certified hundreds of trainers who have in turn educated thousands of parents, youth and child-serving professionals using the Campaign’s research-based training curricula. Its “Sexual Abuse Safe Child Standards” is providing a roadmap for schools and youth organization looking to strengthen their policies to prevent child sexual abuse. Criminal and civil Statute of Limitations reform in Massachusetts has been achieved through MassKids’ partnership with legislators, survivors of sexual abuse and legal advocates. It currently leads the private-sector effort to pass a comprehensive law to address educator sexual abuse/misconduct, age of consent loopholes, and prevention education in schools and youth organizations. This spring it launched the Pledge to Prevent social media campaign to inspire citizens to take prevention actions to end child sexual abuse. It released a new e-learning course specifically developed to provide school personnel with the knowledge and skills to prevent child sexual abuse from ever occurring.
Since the mid-80s MassKids has served as the Massachusetts Chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America. It was a co-developer of the National Coalition to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation’s “National Plan to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse.” It currently serves on the National Independent School Task Force on Educator Sexual Misconduct.
The National Center for Victims of Crime
The National Center for Victims of Crime is the nation's leading resource and advocacy organization serving victims of all types of crime. Founded in 1985, the National Center has a proven record of accomplishment in working across disciplines to effect changes in public policy and culture. It led the effort that persuaded 32 states to amend their state constitutions to include legal rights for crime victims. It was the key organizer of the successful 2013 legislative campaign which eliminated Minnesota's civil statute of limitation for child sex abuse and created a three-year window which gave abuse survivors access to justice. The National Center helped shaped the culture of how America talks about sexual abuse by working with the news media. It has crafted substantive tools to combat child sex abuse, including its 2014 publication, "Preventing Child Sexual Abuse in Youth-Serving Organizations; Guidelines for Managers and Parents." As part of its efforts at cross-discipline collaboration, the National Center has convened more than a dozen national-scope conferences in excess of 250 participants.
Citizens to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse
On January 20th Senator Joan Lovely (D - Salem) filed legislation to address several gaps in Massachusetts’ current policies to protect children from sexual abuse. Working in close collaboration, Sen. Lovely and MassKids proposed a single, “Omnibus Bill” that would include several of the provisions introduced last session in a number of separate bills – bills that despite strong support from legislators and citizens alike, never advanced beyond the Judiciary and Education Committees.
With your support, we believe we can make the Comprehensive Child Sexual Abuse Prevention bill of 2017 one of the top legislative proposals on Beacon Hill this year. We are asking you to band together with other citizen advocates, survivors, and their families to achieve passage of this crucial legislation by joining Citizens to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse. MassKids will send you regular emails highlighting specific provisions of the bill, the data that support it, and how passage of the bill will strengthen the practices and policies of our schools, youth organizations, and communities. We will keep you informed about which legislators have formally supported the bill, when public hearings on the bill are scheduled, and any press conferences, rallies, media coverage, or State House events to promote the legislation.
What we ask you to do is to agree to speak or meet with your Senator and Representatives to encourage them to formally co-sponsor the bill. MassKids will be happy to accompany you, if you wish, to any meeting with your legislators at the State House. The deadline for signing on as co-sponsors to new Senate bills has been extended until just before the Committee on Education takes formal action on the bill. This gives us a few months to secure broad support from both Senators and House Representatives.
With your advocacy, we can successfully push for passage of the Omnibus Bill and its comprehensive provisions, some of which include:
The push to reform the criminal and civil Statute of Limitations in Massachusetts succeeded because of the strong and persistent support of citizens like you. Our goal to ensure justice for survivors and accountability for their abusers has been realized for many. As a result, survivors have now taken their cases to court and several have won.
Building on that victory, we must now focus on protecting our children from ever having to experience sexual abuse and its devastating and often life-long health and mental health consequences. The Omnibus Bill will go a long way in achieving those protections.
Children’s tiny voices are not often heard on Beacon Hill. They need us to be their megaphone, collectively advocating as one, powerful voice for their safety and right to be protected from sexual abuse and exploitation.
Join Citizens to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse today!
We Need Your Support
Since its formation in 1959, MassKids has continued to tackle the complex and sometimes controversial issues facing vulnerable children.
- In the 60s, MassKids worked successfully to remove mentally ill children from adult psychiatric wards.
- In the 70’s our data alerted the state to the growing problem of drug-addicted newborns, and to the links between teen suicides and sexual identify issues.
- In the 80’s we worked to protect homeless and runaway youth from HIV, filed a class action against the state for its inadequate child protection system, and conducted the first media campaign in the country on child sexual abuse prevention.
- In the 90’s MassKids was the first group to work to prevent infant deaths and disabilities from Shaken Baby Syndrome, and to successfully challenge the withholding of necessary medical care for seriously ill children by their faith-healing parents.
- Since 2002 our work to address child sexual abuse has resulted in the engagement of numerous communities and thousands of citizens across the state through our Enough Abuse Campaign which the CDC has called “a trailblazing effort.”
MassKids latest concern is for young girls who reside in our state whose families support the practice of FGM – female genital mutilation. The long-term physical and psychological trauma resulting from this practice have been documented internationally by the United Nations and locally by physicians at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. MassKids is working with the Women’s Bar Association to develop strategies to combat this practice. We want to find ways to engage, rather than alienate, members of communities whose traditional beliefs have supported the practice as necessary to ensure the future marriageability of their daughters. MassKids seeks to speak out for these girls because their voices – and quite literally their screams – are not being heard by those on whom they most depend upon for their safety and health.
In 2017, when you consider supporting an organization that is working tirelessly and effectively for the most vulnerable children of our state, please choose MassKids. Your donation is critical to our ongoing work, since, as we have learned, foundations are often reluctant to support issues they haven’t already included in their wheelhouse or issues they believe might be too difficult or controversial. These are precisely the issues that MassKids has been drawn to over its 55-year history. Our mission is to speak out for the most vulnerable children of our state and to amplify their tiny voices. Please add your voice to make ours and theirs stronger by making a generous contribution to MassKids today.
What your gift would help us to achieve:
- Expand the Enough Abuse Campaign on child sexual abuse prevention to new Massachusetts communities;
- Train and deploy cadres of new trainers on child sexual abuse prevention through our 2-day "Training of Trainers" in new Campaign communities;
- Provide consultation to schools and youth organizations around improving screening practices for new employees and volunteers, reporting cases of sexual abuse, and establishing codes of conduct to identify inappropriate behaviors before they can escalate to illegal acts of sexual abuse;
- Print and distribute our teaching tools: "Straight Talk about Child Sexual Abuse: A Prevention Guide for Parents" and our "Sexual Abuse Safe-Child Standards" for Youth-Serving Organizations;
- Continue enriching our websites with the latest information on all aspects of child abuse and ways to prevent it;
- Continue to educate parents of newborns, family-serving professionals, health care providers and hospitals about Shaken Baby Syndrome/Abusive Head Trauma through dissemination of our highly regarded teaching DVDs, booklets and trainings.
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 through advocacy by concerned citizens. It was founded in 1959 by pediatrician Martha May Eliot, MD, who served as Chief of the U.S. Children’s Bureau and held influential positions in both the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). With active support from Governor Foster Furculo, they established MCC as a permanent, independent citizens’ voice for Massachusetts’ most vulnerable children.
Throughout its 55-year history, our organization’s work has been grounded in the belief that all Massachusetts children have the inherent right -
- To be safe from abuse, neglect, and violence;
- To be economically secure and free from poverty;
- To receive quality medical and preventive care;
- To learn in quality child care and school settings; and
- To live in caring families and healthy communities.
Since 1986 MassKids has served as the Massachusetts Chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America. MassKids currently works to prevent child abuse through the work of the Shaken Baby Syndrome Prevention Center and the soon to be launched "Choose Your Partner Carefully" project. It leads the Enough Abuse Campaign - a multi-state initiative working to educate and mobilize parents, professionals and communities to prevent child sexual abuse. Click here for highlights of MassKids' work and accomplishments for children.