Articles Posted in Education/Prevention

Help is on the way for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.

Nearly one in six Massachusetts women has experienced rape or sexual assault in their lifetime. That’s why Governor Charlie Baker is re-launching a council to tackle sexual assault and domestic violence in the state.

The group will focus on implementing the law put in place last year that guarantees work leave and housing opportunities for victims. The council will be led by Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito.

The YWCA of Western Massachusetts has received a substantial grant to fight domestic violence and sexual abuse.

The nearly $1 million dollar grant comes from the U.S. Department of Justice. It will be distributed over a three year period.

“It focuses on victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking,” says Mary Reardon Johnson, executive director of the YWCA.

A 23-year-old Hartford CT man was sentenced to 22 years in prison and eight years of special parole after pleading guilty as part of a plea agreement to first-degree sexual assault, two counts of first-degree robbery and attempted burglary.

Christopher Mankins admitted robbing the same Heath Street grocery store twice in three days, and admitted that he sexually assaulted a young girl.

Mankins said he was on a PCP at the time of the crimes and apologized for his conduct.

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has proposed a plan to create a separate Child Protection Division within the Department of Children and Families (DCF). This new division would be empowered to investigate allegations of child abuse and neglect with a sole focus on the safety of the child or children involved.

Coakley, who as former Chief of the Child Abuse Unit in the Middlesex District Attorney’s office and as Attorney General, fought for legislation that increased penalties for predators who abuse children.

“As Governor, I will be committed to implementing the crucial changes needed to help ensure that no child is the victim of preventable sexual, physical, or serious emotional abuse,” said Coakley.

The City of Salem will hold training on how to protect children from sexual abuse. Children’s Trust Fund, a Boston-based organization that aims to eliminate child abuse in Massachusetts, is leading the free “Keeping Kids Safe” prevention program, which will be held this coming Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the YMCA of the North Shore on Sewall Street.

With support from state Senator Joan Lovely and state Representative John Keenan, officials from the Children’s Trust Fund expect the event to reach full capacity, as it did when it was held in Wakefield.

The Wakefield community came together in June to learn how to prevent child sexual abuse in the aftermath of charges against resident John Burbine.

A groundbreaking telemedicine initiative launching in Massachusetts aims to help health providers improve assistance to victims of sexual assault.

Earlier this year then-Lieutenant Gov. Timothy Murray announced $3.3 million in federal grant funding from the U.S. Department of Justice, which will be used over three years to create the Massachusetts Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Telenursing Center. A pilot Telenursing Center is set to be created at Newton-Wellesley Hospital that will provide around-the-clock access to medical assistance, consultation and expert forensic sexual assault nurse examiners.

“This program will allow us to use telemedicine to promote the most effective physical, emotional, and forensic care for sexual assault victims,” Lauren Smith, Interim Commissioner of the Department of Public Health, said in the announcement. “We also need to do everything that we can to support the frontline professionals who work with these patients.”

The Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) is encouraging parents and guardians to learn more about child sexual abuse with a new publication, Protecting Your Child from Sexual Abuse, a collaborative effort with Massachusetts Citizens for Children (MCC).

As reports of child sexual abuse increase at Massachusetts schools and with the Penn State and church pedophile scandals still in memory and making headlines, the free 12-page brochure includes basic information on child sexual abuse, tips to help protect children, potential signs and changes in behavior to look for, what to do if abuse is suspected and resources on reporting, and preventing and treatment of child sexual abuse.

Authored by Jetta Bernier, executive director of MCC, Protecting Your Child from Sexual Abuse is the result of a cooperative effort between the MMS Committee on Violence Intervention and Prevention and MCC, a nonprofit, independent advocacy group for the state’s most vulnerable children. It is one of a series of ten brochures focusing on various aspects of violence and children originated by Robert Sege, M.D., Director of the Division of Family and Child Advocacy at Boston Medical Center and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect.

Child advocates and prosecutors in Middlesex County have revamped an online training program designed to help people who work with children to recognize and report suspected abuse, neglect, and exploitation, according to boston.com.

The Middlesex Children’s Advocacy Center collaborated with the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office to redesign the training program, which was first launched by prosecutors in 2010.

With the passage of the Massachusetts Human Trafficking Law, mandated reporters now have additional reporting obligations. The updated training includes information about commercial child sexual exploitation and the new reportable conditions. The legislature has designated doctors, nurses, child care providers, teachers, guidance counselors, social workers, police officers and others as mandated reporters.