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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 that in the past few months alone:

  • 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 #MeToo continues to trigger 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.

Here are highlights of our progress in 2018:

  • Our fall Prevention Summit brought together 100 top state and regional leaders to build skills to prevent sexual misconduct and abuse in schools and youth organizations. 97% said they learned new knowledge and skills to address the problem, and 100% said what they learned would strengthen their organizations’ policies and practices to keep kids safe. Several schools are already moving forward to develop employee Codes of Conduct as a result
  • Over 3,500 school employees completed “Enough!” - MassKids’ new 1-hour, online, evidence-informed training developed specifically for schools. Burlington, Longmeadow, Barnstable, Dracut, Auburn, Deerfield Academy, Noble & Greenough, Newman School, 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.
  • A published, random-controlled study conducted with teachers in 3 states of “Enough!” by Simmons College School of Social Work, confirmed at the highest level of statistical significance increases in knowledge about the problem, ability to identify boundary-violating behaviors before they escalate to sexual offenses, and willingness and confidence in reporting suspected cases. 98.4% said they would recommend the training to their colleagues.
  • Chosen as an official charity of the National Basketball Retired Players Association, MassKids will partner with the “Legends of Basketball” to launch “The Ball is in Our Court” program this coming spring. We will educate basketball-affiliated groups, coaches, parents, and fans on how to strengthen their capacity to keep young athletes safe from sexual abuse.
  • The Enough Abuse Campaign, our citizen education and community mobilization initiative, has been adopted in South Dakota, where the new Center for the Prevention of Child Maltreatment at the University of South Dakota will implement our comprehensive training and policy programs. South Dakota is the 8th state to adopt Enough Abuse.
  • Pledge to Prevent™, MassKids’ new social media campaign, is scheduled to be launched in April with our partner, the World Childhood Foundation. Our goal is to educate and empower thousands of citizens nationwide to take specific, practical actions to prevent child sexual abuse.
  • 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.

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 fall conference 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 2019 - Click HERE!