Guidelines and Tools for the Development of Child Sexual Abuse Prevention and Intervention Plans by Youth-Serving Organizations in Massachusetts
The Massachusetts Legislative Task Force on Child Sexual Abuse Prevention 1
Co-Chairs: Maria Mossaides, Director, Massachusetts Office of the Child Advocate
Massachusetts Office of the Child Advocate: Suzin Bartley, Executive Director, The Children’s Trust
The Children’s Trust: June, 2017 (updated 2020)
Prepared and Submitted Pursuant to MA Session Laws: Chapter 431, Acts of 2014
Children grow in communities, and developing new skills and relationships is deeply important. Youth Serving Organizations (YSOs) across the Commonwealth provide opportunities to dance, play, run, sing, learn and succeed. These organizations are committed to providing children and youth with safety and security. Ensuring that YSOs have the knowledge, tools, and incentives to prevent child sexual abuse is the responsibility of all who care for the children of the Commonwealth. This report is the first step in opening a dialogue and taking actions that will provide all children with safe places to grow.
The Massachusetts Legislative Task Force on the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse is a statewide, multi-agency collaboration utilizing the collective experience of both public and private youth-serving agencies, offices, and organizations to create new frameworks, guidance and tools building on existing best practices and research for the safety and protection of our children, and the prevention of child sexual abuse. It was created by the Massachusetts Legislature (Section 34, Chapter 431 of the acts of 2014) and designated to be co-chaired by the Commonwealth’s Child Advocate, and the Executive Director of the Children’s Trust. The legislation designates as members nearly thirty organizations, offices, and elected and appointed officials, all of whom have given generously of their time, talent, expertise and perspectives to fulfill the important promise of ensuring that children are safe in our great Commonwealth.
This report recommends policies and procedures for the implementation and oversight of the guidelines as well as strategies for incentivizing YSOs to develop and implement sexual abuse prevention and intervention plans. In the coming months, the Task Force will develop a specific implementation plan from the key recommendations of this report. The plan will include using community education and other strategies to increase public awareness about child sexual abuse, including how to recognize the signs, minimize opportunity, and act on suspicions or disclosures of such abuse. We need the support of many to ensure that children are safe, healthy, and free from harm in their homes and at the many YSOs that support their healthy growth and development. We want the adults at all places that interact with young people – including sports clubs, recreation programs, dance studios, child and family service programs, educational facilities, etc. – to have all the skills, tools, and knowledge they need to ensure that children are thriving and free from harm. Violence against children can be prevented. As adults, it is our responsibility to keep all children safe from sexual abuse. We believe this report is an important step toward that goal.
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Customized child sexual abuse prevention guidelines to meet the unique needs of any organization that serves children.
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