Boys, Sexual Assault and Mandated Reporting Update

Back in December we discussed the Penn State scandal and conducted a campaign to raise awareness about the basics of mandated reporting. But what has happened since then? Well, to bring you up to date on those happenings, and support Child Abuse Prevention and Sexual Assault Awareness month, we’d like to talk about two important issues as a follow up to that campaign.

The first issue is how the country has responded to the Penn State scandal.

You can check out the National Conference of State Legislatures’ comprehensive overview of the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting State Statutes. Click here to see the chart which outlines several of the steps in reporting child abuse and neglect. It also links to full summaries of each state’s law on the issue.

Since the scandal unfolded you can now view updates on these state statutes.  Approximately 98 bills in 29 states and the District of Columbia have been introduced in the 2012 legislative session on the reporting of suspected child abuse and neglect. Five states have enacted legislation.

The outcry against the idea of child sexual abuse in just the last four months has been overwhelming and swift. The true impact of this new legislation will continue to unfold. And although the response to this issue has been overwhelming in many ways, it most importantly has continued to highlight the second issue we want to discuss: the ongoing awareness about the problem of boys and sexual assault. Did you know that

This is actually only a conservative estimate about instances of unwanted physical contact. Boys are much less likely to report if they experience a sexual assault.  In a column written for Psychology Today shortly after the coach Jerry Sandusky was arrested, Dr. Karyl McBride outlined several reasons why it’s harder for boys to report.

“It is difficult for any child to report sexual abuse because they feel guilty, they may have received threats from the offender, they fear they won’t be believed, and they don’t want to cause family problems. But for male victims, there are additional barriers to disclosure…”

This is so troubling because the Penn State case is only one of many such instances of abuse and we may never know just how many cases there really are. So, it is vital we remember that although many statistics about the rate and prevalence of sexual abuse of boys  are controversial and not always accurate, it does occur and it needs to be prevented.  To better understand the possible and more specific impact that sexual abuse has on males, Dr. Jim Hopper discusses some very clear points about the potential harm and effects of sexual abuse, with a focus on boys on and young men.

When exposure to this kind of violence occurs with all children – male and female – it can have a long lasting, negative impact if not treated.

If you’d like more information about the effects of sexual abuse on males and how you can either seek help or help those effected please check out the resources below.

http://1in6.org/

This site offers information for men, family & friends, and professionals wanting to learn more and help those men and boys that have suffered from sexual abuse.

http://www.jimhopper.com/male-ab/#last

Dr. Jim Hopper’s site discusses statistics and information about the sexual abuse of males including the prevalence and possible lasting effects of this abuse, and resources for help.

http://www.malesurvivor.org/

This site provides help and resources for overcoming the sexual victimization of boys & men.

Update:

Child Abuse Reporting: Rethinking Child Protection

http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1212313

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