Sexual abuse safe-child standards in Massachusetts

Sexual Abuse Safe-Child Standards in Massachusetts

Every child has the right to be safe where he or she lives, learns, and plays. Adults charged with the responsibility to care for children and youth are critical gatekeepers who can protect them from people that might sexually abuse or exploit them. Key questions that arise when considering how to approach child protection from sexual abuse and exploitation include:

How can we balance this protective role with one that promotes rich opportunities for children to explore their world and engage in new and challenging experiences?

How can we know who is safe or, more fundamentally, which behaviors of adults and other children are inappropriate or risky?

How can we work proactively to prevent child sexual abuse from happening in the first place and not just report cases after they have been disclosed?

How can our policies and practice reflect the best thinking and most current knowledge in the field?

Outlined herein are a series of six standards to help organizations reduce the risk of sexual abuse and ensure a safe environment to learn and grow. While the standards describe the essential requirements that organizations must meet to establish safe environments, they can and should be tailored to the mission, purpose, size, and specific characteristics of each organization and their surrounding communities.