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Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse

Keyword: policy

For 18 months the Moore Center, in collaboration with Tiffany Kaszuba, Vice President at the lobbying firm CRD Associates in Washington D.C., has advocated for Congress to include $10,000,000 in its budget to support child sexual abuse prevention research. This work included visits with members and staffers, a congressional briefing and a community sign-on letter with more than 25 organizations supporting this “ask”. 

Last year we were successful in getting language added to the Fiscal Year 2019 Appropriations Report noting the need for more information on child sexual abuse prevention research.

Recently, the House Appropriations Committee released its Fiscal Year 2020 report, which includes $2,000,000 in the budget for child sexual abuse prevention research. 

The specific report language reads:

Child Sexual Abuse Prevention.—While the incidence of child sexual abuse is believed to be far greater than reported, it is estimated to affect nearly 10 percent of all U.S. children, according to CDC. In light of the harmful physical, cognitive and emotional effects on a child’s development, a far more proactive approach is needed to prevent child sexual abuse. Therefore, the Committee includes $2,000,000 for a new research effort supporting the development, evaluation, and dissemination of effective child sexual abuse prevention practice and policy. 

The Senate Appropriations Committee has not yet released its Fiscal Year 2020 report. We know that at least eight senators included our $10,000,000 request in their budgets. Our hope is that the Senate’s final number is higher than the House’s and that the process of reconciliation results in a final amount closer to our ask. Of course, we would be remiss not to recognize that the Senate’s number could be the same or lower than the House’s. Still this is an early “win” that we believe presages greater U.S. investment in prevention research.  

The report is available here: https://appropriations.house.gov/sites/democrats.appropriations.house.gov/files/FY2020%20LHHS_Report.pdf. There is a chart on page 72 and the language pertaining to CSA prevention research is on page 73.

Crisis on the Southern Border: We're Putting Immigrant Kids in Danger

Congregate CareThere is extensive research that demonstrates separating children from their families and holding them in “congregate care” facilities is associated with increased risk for harm including an increased risk of child sexual and physical abuse. Read more here.

Victims of sexual abuse face a lifetime of costly problems

EconomicsDr. Letourneau frequently speaks about, writes about, and studies the impact that child sexual abuse has on victims, those who have committed offenses, families, communities and policies. But she doesn't often get to argue for prevention through the lens of economics — namely the expensive burden that child sexual abuse has on victims, government and society. Read more here.

The Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse partnered with SCCAN, the Maryland State Council on Child Abuse and Neglect, to draft bills that would help protect children from sexual abuse at school. Both bills made it out of the Ways and Means Committee this week.

These bills (HB 1072 and HB 1571) would require the county board of education to fund child sexual abuse prevention training for employees and require new applicants provide more detailed background information before they can be hired. HB 1072 would require annual training on the prevention, identification and reporting of child sexual abuse; authorizing the instruction and training to include information to help employees recognize and respond to incidents of sexual misconduct.

Maryland Delegate C.T. Wilson, who championed these bills, will be our keynote speaker at our annual symposium on Thursday, April 19. Register here.

Be sure to watch this remarkable debate on abolishing the sex offender registry hosted by the Reason Foundation. The debate was part of Reason’s Soho Forum, which organizes debates that asks audience members to vote for the most compelling argument. The debate took place February 12, 2018 at the Subculture Theater in Manhattan.

The debaters were Emily Horowitz, chair of the sociology and criminal justice department at St. Francis College, who supports abolishing the registry, and Marci Hamilton, CEO and academic director at Child USA, an interdisciplinary think tank to prevent child abuse and neglect, who argued for the registry.

Don’t have time to watch? Here’s a great recap by journalist Steven Yoder.

Dr. Rebecca Fix, assistant professor at the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, wrote a column for Juvenile Justice Information Exchange that was published Monday, Jan. 8, 2018. 

In her column "Young Sex Offenders Shouldn't Have to Register; It's Ineffective and Hurts Everyone Around Them," Rebecca makes clear that according to research, registering children as sex offenders isn't only ineffective, it's also harmful.

Rebecca illustrates her point by recounting the circumstances of a 15-year-old boy who was charged with rape after having consensual sex with his 14-year-old girlfriend:

"After returning to his community following confinement, Demetrius was no longer welcome on his high school athletic teams, and anticipates he will not be admitted into college due to his inability to be scouted by college teams. In addition, his family has been impacted by his registration status. Demetrius and his mother are moving to a new town, as their community has ostracized them. Demetrius’ mother lost her friends once word spread about his legal difficulties, and they are no longer welcome in their church."

This is one heartbreaking example of the unnecessary hardships that registration places on children and their families. Read Rebecca's column here.