Citizens to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse

 

In the last legislative session, Senator Joan Lovely (D - Salem) filed legislation to address several gaps in Massachusetts’ current policies to protect children from sexual abuse. The “Omnibus Bill” was the most comprehensive legislation on the topic introduced in any state and it received wide support from legislators and citizens alike, however, it did not advance beyond the Judiciary and Education Committees.

In January 2019, Sen. Lovely re-introduced S.312 and S.313 that refine some of the provisions in the previous bill. We believe if citizen advocates, survivors, and their families can band together we can pass this crucial legislation this year.

Join with Citizens to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse so we can send you regular emails highlighting specific features of the bills, the data that support them, and how passage of the bills 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 bills, when public hearings on the bills are scheduled, and any press conferences, rallies, media coverage, or State House events to promote the legislation.

We encourage you to speak or meet with your Senator and Representatives to encourage them to formally co-sponsor the bills. 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 the new Senate bills is open until the Committee on Education takes formal action on the bills. This gives us a few months to secure broad support from both Senators and House Representatives.

With your advocacy, we can successfully pass S.312 and S.313 and its comprehensive provisions, some of which include:

  • Ensuring that public and private schools and youth organizations educate their staffs about preventing child sexual abuse before it can occur;
  • Supporting schools to adopt prevention policies, including a Code of Conduct, to ensure that school employees do not engage in boundary-violating behaviors that could lead to sexual offenses:
  • 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 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.

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. S.312 and S.313 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!