header - How we can end sexual violence against children and adolescents in the US

How we can end sexual violence against children and adolescents in the US

Smart funding investments can stop this public health emergency

By Chrissy Hart, Director of Advocacy and Policy

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that about 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 13 boys under age 18 experience sexual abuse during childhood. Sexual violence impacts children and adolescents of every age, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as children with physical, intellectual, and cognitive disabilities. Millions of Americans are survivors of childhood sexual violence and affected family members.

While we know sexual violence against children is a widespread problem, we also know that there are solutions to prevent violence against children and ensure healing and justice for survivors. The Keep Kids Safe US National Blueprint to End Sexual Violence Against Children and Adolescents lays out these evidence-based interventions to end sexual violence against children and adolescents in the US.

What is the Keep Kids Safe US National Blueprint to End Sexual Violence Against Children and Adolescents?

blueprint cover - How we can end sexual violence against children and adolescents in the USKeep Kids Safe is a survivor-centered movement working to end sexual violence against children and adolescents in the US by advocating for prevention, healing and justice policies and programs.

 

To encourage the federal government to take action to end sexual violence against children, Keep Kids Safe developed the survivor-centered US National Blueprint to End Sexual Violence Against Children and Adolescents.

The Blueprint was developed with the voices and perspectives of adult survivors of childhood sexual violence. It serves as a roadmap outlining steps the US federal government can take and reforms they can implement to prevent sexual violence against children and adolescents and ensure healing and justice for survivors.

How will the reforms stop sexual violence against children in the US?

Based on the latest data and evidence, the blueprint lays out the exact steps the US government can take to effectively prevent sexual violence against children, help survivors heal, and bring justice to hold offenders accountable and prevent further victimization. 

 

Keep Kids Safe’s call for reform includes declaring sexual violence against children and adolescents a US public health emergency. To appropriately address this diagnosis, the Blueprint recommends the US government passes comprehensive national legislation, creates a bipartisan commission for child protection, convenes a federal interagency task force, establishes a data working group, launches public education and engagement campaigns, and mobilizes financial resources. Read the Blueprint to learn more about the specific initiatives Keep Kids Safe asks the Biden Administration and Congress to launch.

How the US government took action to keep kids safe

In early 2022, the Administration and Congress took several positive steps aligned with the Keep Kids Safe agenda. 

 

During his State of the Union address, President Biden highlighted the toll that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on children, particularly concerning their mental health and well being. He also, powerfully, acknowledged the role of violence in the lives of children and adolescents before the pandemic and the crucial role that government and public institutions have to play in keeping kids safe. 

 

In turn, Congress is tackling the prevention of online sexual exploitation and abuse of children (OSEAC) through measures like the EARN IT Act, which unanimously passed the Senate Judiciary Committee in February. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received a 35% increase in reports of child sexual abuse material in 2021, an indication of the urgency of addressing the vulnerability of children and adolescents online.
 

Fiscal year 2022 appropriations saw significant gains for child protection efforts, with substantial increases over fiscal year 2021 funding levels to several key accounts focused on prevention, healing, and justice.

 

While we know that further significant investments and policy changes–part of a whole-of-government response to violence against children–are necessary to truly take on the scale and scope of our national crisis of childhood sexual violence and violence against children, the visible commitment of advocates and lawmakers to push for these incremental gains is a step in the right direction. 

How you can help end sexual violence against children and support survivors

Every child deserves to be safe from sexual violence, and we all have a role to play to ensure violence is prevented and survivors have access to healing and justice.

Survivor Speak Out 1 1 - How we can end sexual violence against children and adolescents in the US

 

To honor Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month in the US, the Army of Survivors will host a virtual Survivor Speak Out in collaboration with SNAP and Keep Kids Safe on April 13, 2022, from 4-6 pm ET.

 

The event will provide an opportunity for survivors (as well as those who do not identify with the term “survivor”) to share their stories in a safe and supportive environment. The presence of allies is encouraged and welcomed – RSVP now.

 

To take further action to keep kids safe, read and endorse the US National Blueprint to End Sexual Violence Against Children and Adolescents.