Statutes of limitations may deny justice to individual survivors of institutional child sexual abuse, but state attorneys general are getting creative about how to hold institutions accountable.
In the end, the only way to be sure CACs are serving families effectively is to listen to them. Here's how we make sure we're hearing what they have to say.
The road to justice is long and often impossible for adult survivors of child abuse—especially when institutions where abuse happens have had a hand in shaping the law. Some 23 states still have criminal statutes of limitations for child sexual abuse, while 41 have statutes of limitations against seeking civil penalties.
Why do the accusations come years later, and what does it take to prosecute a case?
So often when a cultural icon is credibly accused of sexually assaulting children, we focus on the conflict fans feel, whether we can enjoy the art they made, and who's making excuses for them. Instead, here are five lessons from #LeavingNeverland to help keep the focus on protecting our children.
"In some ways, legislative advocacy is like toilet paper: You don’t really think about it until it’s absolutely necessary."
Trauma even affects the SVU detectives who serve victims of sexual violence. But that trauma, once healed, can help provide an important lens to understand the needs of child victims. Read Kevin's SHINE story.
"In this case, when you have women that are held under coercion and forced to have repeated sexual encounters with men throughout the day, for a man to go in there - and I believe in my heart of hearts that they know these women are trafficked - I think they are the monsters.
"[T]he person with the key [to free trafficked women] is not the trafficker. It's the men who go into these parlors and avail themselves of this human misery. In the three groups we have - the women, the traffickers and the men - I believe the men are the most guilty."
Bishops just convened in Rome to address the global child abuse crisis within the Catholic Church. Here's an early take on concrete actions in U.S. dioceses that may come out of the bishops' conference, and progress in the global church toward adopting the same zero-tolerance policy toward child sexual abuse that church leaders in the U.S. adopted in 2002.
Breaking: Singer R. Kelly charged with sexual abuse in Chicago, following allegations made in a documentary last month and new accusations from alleged victims this week, stemming from incidents when the accusers were then children.
It can be hard for men to tell their stories. Our first SHINE story from a male survivor comes from Jonah, one of the kindest people we've ever met, and a true example to other men.
ICYMI: Pope Francis kicked Theodore McCarrick, the former Archbishop of Washington, out of the priesthood after the church found him guilty of sexually abusing children and adult parishioners. This is the first time a cardinal has ever been defrocked for child sexual abuse.
If you missed out on your chance to submit a comment against the proposed changes to Title IX that would protect abusers and make it harder for kids assaulted in schools to pursue justice, today is your second chance. Tell the Department of Education what you think! #HandsOffTitleIX
"He was everything the community wanted, but didn't know about the devil inside him. People need to understand. They don't just groom the victim, they groom society."
So proud to have Erin Merryn in our movement! Like SHINE for stories of hope from survivors, and like the Erin's Law page for more info on the push to bring abuse prevention education to all 50 states.
Today's #SHINE story comes from one of our own. CACs help heal kids from the trauma of abuse. Yet many survivors who work in our relatively young and growing movement never had access to a CAC when they needed it as a child. For them, the healing comes from helping kids get healing and justice today—an age when most children have access to a CAC and we're expanding services every day.
Terrible revelations over the weekend of abuse within churches belonging to the Southern Baptist Convention. While these stories will come as no surprise to the brave voices of faith sounding the alarm within the #ChurchToo movement, this scandal lays bare the challenges for decentralized faith communities where abusers may be answerable to no one except their own congregations.
Once more for the people in the back: Children NEVER cause their own abuse. A judge in Kansas gave an abuser a lighter sentence because he disagreed, and our Teresa Huizar had something to say about it in this Buzzfeed story.
A Children's Advocacy Center once gave our friend Melanie the hope she never thought she'd find. Now she chooses to #SHINE in her community an advocate for kids at her local CAC. See our new campaign at SHINE, read stories of hope from adult survivors, and share your own.
Childhelp has run a child abuse hotline since 1982. The majority of people who call it to report abuse adults. But when it informally tested a text-based reporting service, more than 80 percent of those using it were under 18.
Today is Safer Internet Day around the world. See the site for resources including educational materials, child-friendly activities, an internet safety plan, and more.
Many of the front-line workers fighting child abuse and trafficking are ordinary community members. Nurses, flight attendants, dental hygienists, and truckers have started campaigns, taken courses, and organized curricula on how to spot the signs of abuse and trafficking. Check in with your employer, union, or professional organization on how you can help kids you encounter every day.
Today from SHINE: Terrae's story
Our new campaign page, SHINE, will be sharing photos, stories, and pledges of support from survivors. Together, we can transform the conversation about child abuse, bring survivors out of the shadows, and build a universe of support for victims and survivors.
This first story comes to us from our friend Olga in New Jersey. Read her story, follow our new SHINE Campaign page, and follow us on Instagram @whyweshine for more stories from survivors who have triumphed.
At a time when child sex abuse scandals are rocking churches across the country, many states are re-examining laws that require many professionals to report suspected child abuse—often not including clergy.