For the first time ever, rape crisis hotlines across the country are reporting a significant increase in calls from children and youth. The vast majority of these callers report they are living with the person who is hurting them. For many children, lack of access to their teachers, school nurses, social workers, counselors, and coaches means they may not have anyone outside their home they can confide in. As a result, reports of child abuse and neglect to the Department for Children and Families (DCF) have fallen sharply since stay-at-home orders were issued.
Before the pandemic, MassKids had developed a Student Safety Poster to encourage students who feel unsafe to tell a trusted adult or call the Child-at-Risk line. Endorsed by the MA Association of School Superintendents and the MA School Nurse Organization, over 500 posters (18″x24″) were posted in schools across the state in January.
Since physical distribution of the remaining 4,500 posters to all 1,850 public schools is on hold during the pandemic, MassKids is sending the electronic 8.5″x11″ flyer version of the poster to schools. We are encouraging them to post it on their web homepages, and send it directly to students, if possible, to let children know that even during this isolating period, schools are serious about protecting their students from any form of abuse.
Download the Student Safety Flyer and distribute it widely to your Massachusetts school. The poster can also be localized for free to include your state or local hotline and your organization’s logo. Contact info@masskids for details.