This book is about childhood sexual assault in institutions. “Institutions” is just a generic term for private schools, public schools, military schools, daycares, youth organizations, churches, and sports teams. An institution is any organization that exists for children and is run by adults. These institutions are the places that help educate, socialize, and help raise our children.
So why do institutions share any responsibility when a child is sexually assaulted? Because, as parents, we trust these organizations to guard our children when they are under the care of the institution. When our child is at school we have to rely on the adults at that school to supervise and safeguard our child. When our child is living at a boarding or military school, we have to know that the adults will step into our shoes and protect our children. When our child is at a church event or being watched at a childcare center, we have to trust that the adults have been screened and are supervised when they are around our children. When our child is at a basketball practice or traveling for a football game, we rely on coaches to ensure that children are not left unattended.
Each of these institutions knows – or should know – way more than you do about how often children become the victims of sexual assault. The federal government, psychologists, education trainers, and plenty of other people have been warning about the problem for as long as it has existed. Institutions have the responsibility to train their staff to prevent and react to sexual assault before it occurs. Having good policies to stop sexual assault is a good start, but only if the organization follows those policies. It is not enough to have one training every five years. The consequences are too grave to take the problem lightly.
Part I is entitled “You and Your Child.” It is dedicated to helping you prevent your child from ever becoming a victim. It explains the scope of the problem and provides strategies to detect the ‘red flags’. Identifying the warning signs and preventing the disaster is what every parent wants. Part I also suggests what you should do if your child is victimized.
Part II is entitled “The Law.” This section explains the legal remedies and hurdles you will face if you try to hold an institution responsible for allowing your child to be sexually assaulted. This area of the law is unlike any other. Although children should be even more protected than an adult, what you will find is that you have more legal protection from sexual assault at work than your child where he or she learns and plays.