Citizens to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse

MassKids is taking the private sector lead to draft legislation to address several major gaps in current state laws dealing with child sexual abuse. Working in partnership with Senator Joan Lovely (D – Salem, pictured at right) and other legislators and advocates, they plan to file a comprehensive Omnibus Bill to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse in the 2017 Legislative Session. Among several provisions, the bill proposes to:

  • Add athletic coaches, domestic violence workers, information technology repair or service persons, and others to the list of persons mandated to report suspected child abuse abuse;

  • Clarify the responsibility of mandated reporters to file a report to state authorities if their organization fails to do so after having been informed about the abuse by that reporter;

  • Close loopholes in the state's Age of Consent laws that now provide criminal and civil protection to sexual abusers who offend agaist children 16 years of age and older; 

  • Require schools and youth-serving organizations to train their staff about child sexual abuse prevention and to establish safe child policies, including those aimed to prevent "boundary-violating behaviors" before they can escalate to legally reportable sexual offenses; and

  • Support schools to better screen prospective employees by ensuring legal protection for schools to share information about a past employee's sexual misconduct. This provision is aimed at eliminating the practice of allowing or encouraging the resignation of employees engaged in sexual misconduct in lieu of reporting to state authorities. Confidentiality Agreements that would have the effect of thwarting a formal investigation would be prohibited. Schools would be protected from legal liability for sharing information with other schools.

Join our Citizens to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse Coalition email list today to be kept informed about the Omnibus Bill and how you can work to ensure its passage. Thousands of citizens made their voices heard to pass Statute of Limitations reform in Massachusetts. Let's build on that momentum and now work to prevent child sexual abuse from ever occurring.