Washington—Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) today introduced the Helping Schools Protect Our Children Act, which would allow schools to use Title II Elementary and Secondary Education Act funds to provide training to personnel on detecting sexual abuse.
- According to data collected by the Administration for Children and Families, more than 865,000 incidents of child abuse, including nearly 61,000 incidents of sexual abuse, were reported in 2013.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 12 percent of female rape victims and nearly 28 percent of male rape victims were first raped at age 10 or younger.
- The National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System reports that 61 percent of reports of child abuse and neglect are made by professionals that work with children. However, only 17.5 percent of reports are submitted by teachers and other education professionals, indicating that they need training to better recognize signs of abuse.
“Given the amount of time children spend in school, teachers and other education professionals are often in the best position to identify sexual abuse and report it. However, they typically do not receive any training on how to recognize signs of abuse,” said Senator Feinstein. “The earlier abuse is detected, the easier it is to minimize the long-term effects on children, which is why we should give schools the flexibility to use federal education funds for this type of training.”
“Our children are the most vulnerable members of our society, and we must do everything possible to protect them from harm,” said Senator Blunt. “This important bipartisan bill would help to give our teachers and schools the tools they need to recognize signs of sexual abuse, which far too often goes undetected in young students.”
The Helping Schools Protect Our Children Act has been endorsed by First Focus, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and Childhelp.