5025CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE AND ASSAULT RESPONSE POLICY AND REPORTING PROCEDURE
CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE AND ASSAULT RESPONSE POLICY AND REPORTING PROCEDURE
The Meriden Board of Education (the “Board”) has adopted a uniform child sexual abuse and/or sexual assault response policy and reporting procedure in connection with the implementation of its sexual assault and abuse prevention and awareness program.
II. Procedures for Reporting of Child Sexual Abuse and Sexual Assault
A. Students, or any individuals, may make written or verbal reports of suspected child sexual abuse and/or sexual assault to any school employee. For purposes of this policy, a “child” shall be considered any student enrolled in the Board’s schools, except for those enrolled only in an adult education program who are over the age of eighteen (18). The Safe School Climate Specialist or designee for the school in which the student is enrolled shall be notified of the report and shall cause such reports to be reviewed and actions taken consistent with this policy.
B. School employees who receive a report of child sexual assault and/or abuse and have reasonable cause to suspect or believe that a child has been sexually abused and/or assaulted shall report such suspicion to the appropriate authority in accordance with Board Policy 4050, pertaining to REPORTS OF SUSPECTED ABUSE OR NEGLECT OF CHILDREN OR REPORTS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT OF STUDENTS BY SCHOOL EMPLOYEES.
II. Procedures for Review of Reports of Child Sexual Abuse and/or Assault
A. The Safe School Climate Specialist or designee for the school in which the student is enrolled shall be responsible for reviewing any reports of suspected child sexual abuse and/or sexual assault. In the event that the suspected child sexual abuse and/or sexual assault has not yet been reported to the appropriate authority in accordance with Board Policy 4050, pertaining to REPORTS OF SUSPECTED ABUSE OR NEGLECT OF CHILDREN BY ANYONE OR SEXUAL ASSAULT OF STUDENTS BY SCHOOLEMPLOYEES, the Safe School Climate Specialist or designee shall promptly cause such a report to be made.
B. If/when such report alleges that a school employee, as defined by Conn. Gen. Stat § 53a-65, is the perpetrator of child sexual abuse and/or sexual assault, the Safe School Climate Specialist or designee shall immediately notify the Superintendent of Schools or designee, who shall immediately notify the child's parent or guardian that a report has been made to the appropriate authorities in accordance with .Board Policy 4050, pertaining to REPORTS OF SUSPECTED ABUSE OR NEGLECT OF CHILDREN OR REPORTS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT OF STUDENTS BY SCHOOLEMPLOYEES. The notification requirement shall not apply if a parent or guardian is the individual suspected of perpetrating the child sexual abuse and/or sexual assault. If either a Department of Children and Families (“DCF”) investigation or a police investigation is pending pertaining to the report of suspected child sexual abuse and/or sexual assault, the Safe School Climate Specialist or designee shall obtain the permission of DCF and/or the police department conducting the investigation prior to informing the parents/guardians of the report.
C. The Safe School Climate Specialist or designee shall offer to meet with the student and the parents or guardians of the student about whom a report of suspected child sexual abuse and/or sexual assault has been made, in order to discuss the District’s support procedures, including but not limited to: 1) actions that child victims of sexual abuse and/or sexual assault and their families may take to obtain assistance, 2) intervention and counseling options for child victims of sexual abuse and/or assault, and 3) access to educational resources to enable child victims of sexual abuse and/or sexual assault to succeed in school.
D. In the event that the report of suspected child sexual abuse and/or sexual assault alleges that another student enrolled in the District is the perpetrator of the sexual abuse and/or sexual assault, the Safe School Climate Specialist or designee shall also take appropriate action to investigate or cause such a report to be investigated, and appropriate remedial actions taken, in accordance with Board Policy 4050, pertaining to REPORTS OF SUSPECTED ABUSE OR NEGLECT OF CHILDREN OR REPORTS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT OF STUDENTS BY SCHOOL EMPLOYEES, Board Policy 5030, pertaining to Bullying Prevention and Intervention, and Board Policy 4030 Title IX/Sex Discrimination and Sexual Harassment. In the event either a DCF investigation or a police investigation is pending pertaining to the report of suspected child sexual abuse and/or sexual assault, the Safe School Climate Specialist shall coordinate investigatory activities with DCF and/or the police in order to minimize the number of interviews of any child or student victim of sexual assault and share information with other persons authorized to conduct an investigation of child abuse or neglect, as appropriate and permitted by law.
E. The Safe School Climate Specialist or designee shall develop a student support plan for anyone who has been a victim of child sexual abuse and/or sexual assault. The report of suspected sexual abuse and/or assault need not be verified prior to the implementation of a support plan. The elements of the support plan shall be determined in the discretion of the Safe School Climate Specialist or designee, and shall be designed to support the student victim’s ability to access the school environment.
III. Support Strategies
A. Child sexual abuse and/or sexual assault can take many forms and can vary dramatically in the nature of the offense and the impact the behavior may have on the victim and other students. Accordingly, there is no one prescribed response to child sexual abuse and/or sexual assault.
B. The following sets forth possible interventions and supports which may be utilized to support individual student victims of child sexual abuse and/or sexual assault:
- Referral to a school counselor, psychologist or other appropriate social or mental health service.
- Encouragement of the student victim to seek help when feeling overwhelmed or anxious in the school environment.
- Facilitated peer support groups.
- Designation of a specific adult in the school setting for the student victim to seek out for assistance.
- Periodic follow-up by the Safe School Climate Specialist and/or Title IX Coordinator with the victim of sexual abuse and/or assault.
C. The following sets forth possible interventions and supports that may be utilized systemically as prevention and intervention strategies pertaining to child sexual abuse and/or sexual assault:
- School rules prohibiting sexual abuse and sexual assault and establishing appropriate consequences for those who engage in such acts.
- School-wide training related to prevention and identification of, and response to, child sexual abuse and/or sexual assault.
- Age-appropriate educational materials designed for children in grades kindergarten to twelve, inclusive, regarding child sexual abuse and sexual assault awareness and prevention that will include information pertaining to, and support for, disclosures of sexual abuse and sexual assault, including but not limited to:
(a) the skills to recognize child sexual abuse and sexual assault, boundary violations and unwanted forms of touching and contact, and the ways offenders groom or desensitize victims; and
(b) strategies to promote disclosure, reduce self-blame and mobilize bystanders.
- Promotion of parent involvement in child sexual abuse and sexual assault prevention and awareness through individual or team participation in meetings, trainings and individual interventions.
- Respectful and supportive responses to disclosures of child sexual abuse and/or sexual assault by students.
- Use of peers to help ameliorate the plight of victims and include them in group activities.
- Continuing awareness and involvement on the part of students, school employees and parents with regard to prevention and intervention strategies.
IV. Safe School Climate Specialists
The Principal of each school (or principal’s designee) shall serve as the Safe School Climate Specialist.
V. Community Resources
The Board recognizes that prevention of child sexual abuse and sexual assault requires a community approach. Supports for victims and families will include both school and community sources. The national, state and local resources below may be accessed by families at any time, without the need to involve school personnel.
A. National Resources:
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children Resource Center
333 John Carlyle Street, Suite #125, Alexandria, Virginia 22314-5950
24-hour call center: 1-800-843-5678
- The online resource center contains publications on child safety and abuse prevention, child sexual exploitation, and missing children.
National Children’s Advocacy Center
210 Pratt Ave., Huntsville, Alabama 35801
Telephone: (256) 533-5437
National Child Traumatic Stress Network
NCCTS — Duke University
1121 West Chapel Hill Street Suite 201
Durham, NC 27701
Telephone: (919) 682-1552
- The National Child Traumatic Stress Network offers general information on childhood trauma, including information on child sexual abuse.
National Sexual Violence Resource Center
2101 N. Front Street
Governor’s Plaza North, Building #2
Harrisburg, PA 17110
Toll Free Telephone: 877-739-3895
- The resource center includes multilingual access.
Darkness to Light
1064 Gardner Road, Suite 210
Charleston, SC 29407
National Helpline: (866) FOR-LIGHT
Administrative Office: (843) 965-5444
- Darkness to Light is a grassroots national non-profit organization to educate adults to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.
B. Statewide Resources:
Department of Children and Families
505 Hudson Street
Hartford, Connecticut 06106
Child Abuse and Neglect Careline: 1-800-842-2288
Telephone, Central Office: (860) 550-6300
- DCF is the Connecticut agency responsible for protecting children who are abused or neglected.
- FAQs About Reporting Suspected Abuse and Neglect are available at: http://www.ct.gov/dcf/cwp/view.asp?a=2534&Q=314388&dcfNav=|
The Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence
96 Pitkin Street
East Hartford, CT 06108
24-hour toll-free hotline: 1-888-999-5545 English/1-888-568-8332 Espaňol
Telephone: (860) 282-9881
- The alliance is a statewide coalition of community-based sexual assault crisis service programs working to end sexual violence through victim assistance, public policy advocacy, and prevention education training. Each member center provides free and confidential 24/7 hotline services in English and Spanish, individual crisis counseling, support groups, accompaniment and support in hospitals, police stations, and courts, referral information, and other services to anyone in need.
- To find a Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence member program please visit: http://endsexualviolencect.org/who-we-are/
Connecticut Children’s Alliance
75 Charter Oak Ave Suite 1-309
Hartford, Connecticut 06106
Phone: (860) 610-6041
- CCA is a statewide coalition of Child Advocacy Centers and Multidisciplinary Teams.
Connecticut Network of Care
- Connecticut Network of Care is an online information portal listing programs and support groups for sexual assault and abuse in Connecticut.
C. Local Resources:
[Local resources will vary depending on the district’s location; many State-level resources indicate applicable regional offices and programs.]
Conn. Gen. Stat § 17a-101b Report by mandated reporter. Notification of law enforcement agency when allegation of sexual abuse or serious physical abuse. Notification of person in charge of institution, facility or school when staff member suspected of abuse or neglect.
Conn. Gen. Stat § 17a-101q State-wide sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention program
ADOPTED: April 20, 2021
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