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:

  • Ensuring that public and private schools educate their staffs about preventing child sexual abuse before it can occur;
  • Assisting schools and youth organizations to strengthen their screening of prospective new employees to reduce the risks of sexual abuse occurring;
  • Providing schools with protection from any legal liability when they share information about educator sexual misconduct of an employee with other schools;
  • Closing the loophole that currently protects those working in schools from any civil or criminal actions if they engage in sexual misconduct with a student 16 years or older;
  • Including athletic coaches, domestic violence workers, Internet Technology service personnel, and others among those mandated by law to report suspected child abuse.

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!