Thursday, July 12, 2012

A "total disregard for the safety and welfare'' of children


CHICAGO, IL, July 12, 2012 – Maybe we can no longer be surprised by the contents of the report released this morning by former FBI Director Louis Freeh regarding Penn State’s “total disregard” for the victims of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look at the contents as a call to action for all adults and all institutions to play a more profound role in the prevention of child sexual abuse and the healthy development of all children:

"The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized.''

"The evidence shows that Mr. Paterno was made aware of the 1998 investigation of Sandusky, followed it closely, but failed to take any action, even though Sandusky had been a key member of his coaching staff for almost 30 years, and had an office just steps away from Mr. Paterno's."

"Their failure to protect the … child victim, or make attempts to identify him, created a dangerous situation for other unknown, unsuspecting young boys who were lured to the Penn State campus and football games by Sandusky and victimized repeatedly by him."
We say enough. Enough secrecy and shame. Enough cover-ups. And enough prioritizing institutional reputations over doing the right things by children.
We continue to believe that encouraging all parents to play an active role in their children’s lives and assume more responsibility for the prevention of child sexual abuse is a must.  

We believe that all organizations and communities can develop sexual abuse prevention plans that would be comprised of strategies such as following:
  • Educating all adults and children about healthy sexuality; 

  • Passing, and enforcing, policies that minimize one-on-one contact between children and adults;

  • And when needed, reporting perpetrators to the proper authorities even when it comes at the expense of institution’s public image.
But we also believe that stronger laws and penalties won’t solve the problem by itself.
“When will it be the right time to awaken to the fact that organizations and institutions across the country have failed children and disregarded their welfare and healthy development?” said James M. Hmurovich, President & CEO, Prevent Child Abuse America. “We say that time is now. We no longer have a choice. The Penn State report shows us that we can no longer blindly trust that community leaders will do the right things on behalf of children. This is a call to action for all communities to play whatever role they can in prevention and we hope people everywhere are ready to join us in this fight.”  


Prevent Child Abuse America, founded in 1972, works to ensure the healthy development of children nationwide while recognizing that child development is a building block for community development and economic development. We believe that communities across the country are doing innovative things with great results to prevent abuse and neglect from ever occurring, and what we need to do as a nation is commit to bringing this kind of ingenuity to communities everywhere. Based in Chicago, Prevent Child Abuse America has chapters in 49 states and over 400 Healthy Families America home visitation sites in 37 states, the Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and Canada. For more information, please visit here and here

No comments: