I’ve been very troubled about the numerous reports of sexual abuse of children and adults this fall. It’s really sad to learn about abuse in the Massachusetts State House, by United States Senators and rumblings even within the White House. High level politicians seem to be tumbling all around us. But this isn’t limited to national and state leaders. There are sexual predators right here in the Attleboro area.
The Bristol County Children’s Advocacy Center recently told a gathering of local human service providers that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be the victims of sexual abuse before the age of 18. In addition, 1 in 5 teens receive and disseminate sexually explicit images. A recent state audit of the Department of Children and Family Services revealed that sexual violence upon foster children continues to occur at a startling rate. DCF tries to protect approximately 50,000 children and teens from abuse and neglect.
DCF hasn’t reported cases of sexual abuse in the past so we don’t exactly how many youths were affected by predators. Apparently, sexual abuse episodes weren’t considered “critical incidents” until recently. Thankfully, DCF is currently reporting these incidents to the Office of the Child Advocate. Our children need to be protected!
Sexual abuse is not a pretty subject. But it will not begin to subside until we expose the predators.
Rep. Jay Barrows (Mansfield, Foxboro) has joined other legislators on a bill that would broaden mandated reporting of suspected abuse. If the bill passes, reporting would be expanded to include volunteers who work with children on sports teams, YMCA staff, church groups, scouting, etc. I strongly support this effort to extend mandated reporters beyond social workers, teachers, doctors, clergy, and foster parents.
It’s time we shed the light of day on sexual abusers. The emotional scars from abuse can last a lifetime. Please call the DCF Child-At-Risk hotline if you suspect any abuse or neglect. Call 800-792-5200
Let’s protect our children!
Ty Waterman – Democratic Candidate for State Representative – Attleboro, Mass.