Womens Justice Center




















News Round-up ~ Resumen de noticias


 

It’s the question every survivor of domestic violence is posed, often incredulously: Why didn’t you just leave? The reality is that leaving an abusive relationship is often a herculean task that endangers the woman and calls for resources that aren’t readily available.

In June, after The Huffington Post ran an investigative report on a woman allegedly murdered by her boyfriend, we received an outpouring of responses from domestic violence survivors who wanted to explain why they had stayed with their abusers. We spent the next three months interviewing these women. While they offered hundreds of reasons, ranging from the logistical to the deeply personal, some common themes emerged: Fear. Love. Family. Money. Shame. Isolation.

In this series, you will hear from six survivors of domestic violence about why they didn’t leave sooner. The stories — told in their own words — are as distinct as they are similar. One woman suffered a brutal week of abuse before fleeing. Others stayed for decades trying to make things work. Two women were shot, the bullets narrowly missing their hearts. Another endured years of incessant stalking.

SEE ARTICLE HERE

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Before they can reach the American Dream, many migrant women have to survive a Mexican nightmare. A staggering 80 percent of Central American girls and women crossing Mexico en route to the United States are raped along the way, according to directors of migrant shelters interviewed by Fusion.

That's up from previous reports by non-profit organizations like Amnesty International that estimate the number at 60 percent.

"Women and girl migrants, especially those without legal status traveling in remote areas or on trains, are at heightened risk of sexual violence at the hands of criminal gangs, people traffickers, other migrants or corrupt officials," the 2010 Amnesty International report stated. "...Many criminal gangs appear to use sexual violence as part of the "price" demanded of migrants. According to some experts, the prevalence of rape is such that people smugglers may require women to have a contraceptive injection prior to the journey as a precaution..."

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A case making its way through the courts in Washington State holds high stakes for trafficked children who have been waging a steep uphill battle against corporate behemoth Backpage.com for years. Three Washington State girls, seventh and ninth graders, are fighting back against the website that advertised them multiple times a day.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           The girls seek damages from Backpage.com -- believed to sell the most online prostitution ads involving children in the country -- for creating an illegal online marketplace and policing it in bad faith. After Backpage.com published their pictures and sales pitches about them, the girls, ages 13 and 15, were repeatedly raped by customers.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ARTICLE CONTINUES

The Washington State Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case on Tuesday, October 21, 2014.

Amicus Briefs in Support of Child Respondents 

 

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ICRW
 

                                  MorePowertoHer1

Every year, more than 14 million girls are married before their 18th birthday. Instead of playing and learning, child brides as young as 10 years old are often subjected to a life of isolation, poor health and abuse. Child marriage not only violates a girl’s human rights, but it also stifles community, state and global development efforts to end poverty and gender inequality.

ICRW has been at the forefront of exposing the harms caused by child marriage, and identifying solutions to prevent it, for more than 15 years. In 2011, ICRW identifiedfive promising strategies to prevent child marriage. With this latest study, ICRW set out to discover how programs in Bangladesh, Egypt, Ethiopia and India are working to empower both girls at risk of child marriage as well as already-married girls, and how empowerment leads to changes in knowledge, attitudes and practices.

Based on four case studies of programs run by CARE (Ethiopia), BRAC (Bangladesh), Save the Children (Egypt) and Pathfinder International (India), ICRW’s findings show that girl-focused programs expand girls’ ability to make strategic life choices by providing them with access to critical resources.

The information, skills and social support that girls gain through these programs has helped to instill a transformation within them that enables them to envision themselves in roles other than those traditionally expected of them in strict, patriarchal societies. They also introduce girls to alternatives to marriage, such as school and livelihood opportunities, and enhance their ability to influence key ‘gatekeepers’ in their lives, such as parents, husbands or community leaders.


Download report »

 

 

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Luchadoras es un programa conducido por Lulú Barrera, dedicado a la vida de mujeres activistas, artistas, académicas y periodistas que dedican su vida a la promoción y defensa de los derechos humanos de las mujeres.
En esta emisión, Lulú entrevista en el estudio de Rompeviento Verónica Cruz Sánchez, directora de Las Libres.

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SheTaxis (known as SheRides in New York City) is a newly-launched app that will help women-only passengers find women-only taxi drivers. If you are a woman, the creators argue, it makes sense to use this car service, because taking taxis and Ubers driven by men can be dangerous. There is a whole lot of money to be made helping women adapt to this problem.

This approach to "keeping women safe" is based on the sex segregation model of harassment and stranger rape avoidance at the heart of women-only subway cars inJapan and women-only train compartments in India. It's the car version of a million "don't get raped" products, the latest of which is drug-sensing nail polish that women can paint onto their fingertips and dip into drinks. Most solutions advocating segregation or self-defense are variations of "shrink it and pink it" consumer product and public space design. Even Women.Com, a new social network designed as a (safe) space for women only, takes this approach -- that women have to take themselves out of spaces shared by men or risk the consequences.

The reason many feminists don't embrace these products and services enthusiastically is that, while they help individual women avoid rape, none of them prevents rape or other violence that it is often related to. They don't reduce terror, but diffuse it. They don't dismantle myths (like the relative risk of stranger sexual assault versus acquaintance and intimate assault), they capitalize on them. They not only operate within parameters that accept the violence, but commodify it.

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Publication cover

 

Interpersonal violence – in all its forms – has a grave effect on children: Violence undermines children’s future potential; damages their physical, psychological and emotional well-being; and in many cases, ends their lives. The report sheds light on the prevalence of different forms of violence against children, with global figures and data from 190 countries. Where relevant, data are disaggregated by age and sex, to provide insights into risk and protective factors.

General Information

Author:UNICEFPrice:FreeNo. of pages:206Publication date:September 2014Publisher:UNICEFISBN:978-92-806-4767-9

      PDF FREE DOWNLOAD HERE

 
                                                                                                For further information
Please contact: pubdoc@unicef.org

 

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Jennifer Norris testifies on Capitol Hill before a sparsely attended House Armed Services Committee hearing on sexual misconduct by basic training instructors at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.

Editor's note: Mary F. Calvert won the 2013 Canon Female Photojournalist Awardfor this body of work and is showing it at the 2014 Visa Pour l'image in Perpignan, France. Calvert also just won the Alexia Foundation 2014 Women's Initiative Grantto help fund her related project, Missing in Action: Homeless Female Veterans.

Women in the US military are being raped and sexually assaulted by their colleagues in record numbers. An estimated 26,000 rapes and sexual assaults took place in the military in 2012, the last year that statistic is available; only 1 in 7 victims reported their attacks, and just 1 in 10 of those cases went to trial.

According to mental-health experts, the effects of military sexual trauma (MST) include depression, substance abuse, paranoia, and feelings of isolation. Victims spend years drowning in shame and fear as the psychological damage silently eats away at their lives. Many frequently end up addicted to drugs and alcohol, homeless, or take their own lives.

In 2013, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) introduced the Military Justice Improvement Act, which was designed to change the ways the military prosecutes sexual-violence crimes and restricts commanding officer's power to set aside or overturn convictions for sexual violence. But in March 2014, the bill fell 5 votes short of the 60 required to avoid a filibuster.

In May, the Department of Defense Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military for fiscal year 2013 found that reports of sexual assault were up 50 percent. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has implemented a variety of measures to combat sexual assault, including the examination of gender-responsive and appropriate military culture, a review of alcohol policies and sales, the evaluation and improvement of sexual-assault prevention and response training for commanders, and encouraging more male victims to report sexual assaults.

But the violence of rape and the ensuing emotional trauma are still compounded by what victims see as the futility of reporting the attacks to their commands. 

SEE PHOTO ESSAY HERE

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AWID is excited to introduce a new manual for rights activists facing religious fundamentalist opposition to their work. This user-friendly resource manual brings together the innovative research and analysis produced by AWID's Challenging Religious Fundamentalisms (CF) program over the past six years, drawing on the experiences of hundreds of women's rights activists in diverse regions of the world.

This manual covers key areas of AWID’s research, including understandings of religious fundamentalisms; factors that lead to their growth; the impacts on women’s rights and human rights; and strategies used to counter religious fundamentalisms. It also includes concrete examples, visuals, and a series of discussion questions and participatory activities to encourage reflection on how religious fundamentalisms affect the day-to-day work of activists and how to strengthen activist responses.  

Our hope is that this manual will offer an accessible resource to inform and inspire dialogue, strategies, and advocacy on the issue of religious fundamentalisms. 

Note: This resource has been produced for rights-based activists and organizations only and is not meant for public dissemination. If you would like to request a soft-copy of this publication, please contact us at cf@awid.org

 

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 Clamor social y legislativo para endurecer castigos

El asesinato en febrero de 2013 de la periodista Hanaly Huaycho por su esposo, el teniente de la policía Jorge Clavijo, aceleró el trabajo en el Poder Legislativo para poner a punto una ley que liquidara, de una vez por todas, los asesinatos de mujeres en Bolivia.
 
Unas semanas después, el presidente Evo Morales promulgó la Ley 348 para Garantizar a las Mujeres una Vida Libre de Violencia, la cual, en uno de sus artículos aclara que “el Estado Plurinacional asume como prioridad la erradicación de la violencia hacia las mujeres, por ser una de las formas más extremas de dominación en razón de género”.
 
Al mismo tiempo agrega que “los órganos del Estado y todas las instituciones públicas adoptarán las medidas y políticas necesarias, asignando los recursos económicos y humanos suficientes con carácter obligatorio”.
 
La norma es clara y, si se analiza con detenimiento, cada uno de sus artículos va encaminado a poner un alto a la violencia doméstica, un mal enquistado en la sociedad boliviana desde tiempos inmemoriales, cuando las mujeres eran sólo un objeto más, propiedad del hombre de la casa.
 
Por unos meses reinó el silencio y aunque se registraron miles de denuncias por violencia doméstica, parecía que los casos de feminicidio habían pasado a un segundo plano, pero llegó agosto de 2014 y los indicadores aportados por las autoridades dejaron sobre el tapete la verdadera realidad.

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Domestic violence is a tragic feature of millions of women's lives. But in Thailand, new efforts are underway to better protect women from violence at the hands of their partners by training police cadets in investigating domestic violence. Produced by UNTV for UN Women, this piece follows one young woman cadet as she gets her first close-up look at a case of abuse.

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The National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE) is a non-profit organization that brings together individuals or agencies working to establish or improve oversight of police officers in the United States. 

The Professional Standards Committee, on behalf of the Board of Directors, undertook an ambitious and important project to create detailed profiles of civilian oversight agencies/entities across the United States. The Committee’s goal was to compile profiles of oversight agencies representing different models of oversight, using a standardized set of criteria (adapted from the agency profiles found in CACOLE’s compendium of all oversight agencies in Canada). Each profile includes attachments and/or links to websites containing relevant original documents related to an agency’s scope, authority and operations. A major goal of this project was to provide individuals or groups who are establishing oversight with models of enabling legislation, regulations, procedures, etc. Below is the list of those profiles that have been prepared to date. Click each agency’s name to access its profile.

SEE ALSO: 

Making Civilian Oversight of Police Work for Victims of Violence Against Women and Children
Experience of Criminal Justice System Abuses by Gender, Info-graphic

 

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Lydia Cacho is an award-winning investigative journalist, writer and activist. Her reporting focuses on violence against women in her home country of Mexico. Her latest book is Slavery Inc.: The untold story of international sex trafficking.

In the West, slavery is often seen as a dark part of the colonial past. Although it’s illegal in all countries, it remains alive and well—and is growing dramatically. Impervious to recession, it forms a thriving part of the globalised sex industry run by organised crime. International trafficking of women and children for sex is a multi-billion dollar business that won’t be anywhere near ‘abolition’ until those who make money from its operations and buy its services think again about what being complicit in slavery means. 

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REPORT:

In 2012, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) published a national compendium of law enforcement strategies to reduce the demand for commercial sex. The following explores the merits of a demand reduction approach; discusses strategies commonly used in the United States; and provides helpful links to guidance, evaluations, and best practices for implementing demand reduction strategies in jurisdictions.

ARTICLE CONTINUES

Access the full report, A National Overview of Prostitution and Sex Trafficking Demand Reduction Efforts, including helpful implementation guidance.

The study also resulted in a user-friendly, publically available website containing this information and a database:www.demandforum.net.

 

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Annotation: 

 

This is a comprehensive overview of the prevalence of rape in prison, with a focus on Pennsylvania prisons, along with the features of prison culture and inmate attitudes that facilitate prison rapes.

Abstract: After a brief review of studies of the prevalence of rape in custodial facilities, both male and female, this paper notes that regardless of the accuracy of the statistics, it is clear that there is a pervasive fear of such victimization, and this dominates inmate social interactions in prison. The discussion of what constitutes sexual assault includes the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections definition, which is “any acts or attempts to commit acts which involve sexual contact, sexual abuse or assault, the intentional touching, either directly or through clothing, of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thighs, or buttocks." The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections prohibits any form of sexual harassment or sexual contact with an inmate. After reviewing the prevalence and features of prohibited sexual contact in prison, the paper considers characteristics of the prison culture that influence inmate sexual behavior. Prison culture has a defined social category known as homosexual, but all inmates who engage in same-sex behavior are not considered homosexual. Prison culture distinguishes the category of homosexual into groups known as “homosexuals,” “gays,” “queens,” and “straights.” These categories are defined. This is followed by a discussion of “sexual violence in the prison environment,” which states that first-person accounts suggest that many rape attempts are perpetrated against young, newly incarcerated individuals who lack experience with violence or prison culture. This section also discusses motivating factors for sexual behavior, consensual versus coerced or forced sex, protective pairing, and bartering and trading for sex. Other topics addressed in this paper are sexual assault among female inmates and juvenile inmates, victim reporting of sexual assault, common reactions of inmates to sexual victimization, and the characteristics of sexually aggressive inmates. 37 references

                           SEE UNDERSTANDING PRISON RAPE GUIDE PDF HERE

SEE ALSO:

Building Partnerships Between Rape Crisis Centers and Correctional Facilities to Implement the PREA Victim Services Standards

Annotation: 

This report summarizes key issues and suggestions from a forum that discussed how correctional facilities and rape crisis centers can cooperate in implementing the sexual-assault victim services specified in the standards for implementing the Prisoner Rape Elimination Act (PREA).

Abstract: Rape crisis center is a term that denotes the many community-based sexual assault victim advocacy agencies across the county; however, sexual assault victims in corrections may not identify their assault experience as being one that rape crisis centers address. Training is required in order for the staffs of both rape crisis centers and corrections facilities to understand the relevance of such a partnership for victims of sexual assaults that occur in prisons and jails. The forum discussions provide guidance on conducting such training. Partnering efforts should then begin with the common goal of safety and appropriate services for in-prison sexual assault victims. It would be useful for correctional systems to assist their facilities in identifying and reaching out to rape crisis centers for the purpose of developing agreements that specify the services that rape crisis centers can provide for sexual assault victims in correctional facilities. Two discretionary grant projects from the U.S. Justice Department’s Office for Victims of Crime are piloting efforts to implement PREA victim services provisions and more generally facilitate a victim-centered, coordinated approach to sexual assault in corrections. Appended listing of forum participants and forum agenda

                          SEE GUIDE PDF HERE

SEE ALSO:                  

  

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   Lanza AI campaña para exigir a las autoridades que actúen

Debido a que al menos seis de cada 10 mujeres migrantes son víctimas de violencia sexual durante su tránsito por México, Amnistía Internacional (AI) lanzó hoy la campaña “Paso Migratorio” a fin de visibilizar este flagelo.
 
AI explicó que la campaña tiene por objeto visibilizar los obstáculos que enfrentan mujeres, niñas y niños migrantes para ejercer sus derechos sexuales y reproductivos, durante su paso por el país.
 
Violencia sexual, embarazos no deseados, trata de personas, limitado acceso a servicios prenatales, nula información sobre anticonceptivos, escaso apoyo institucional e impunidad, son los principales problemas que enfrentan las migrantes en su tránsito por México, señalaron integrantes de la organización en conferencia de prensa.
 
Dijeron que AI busca implementar mecanismos de actuación en las estaciones migratorias que permitan identificar a mujeres, niñas y niños que hayan sufrido alguna violación, para que reciban atención adecuada, y “presionar” al gobierno federal para que establezca políticas públicas y estrategias con visión de género.

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Policy and Procedure Recommendations

The arrest of a parent can have a significant impact on a child, whether or not the child is present at the time of the arrest. Depending on age and quality of the relationship with the parent, children may feel shock, immense fear, anxiety, or anger towards the arresting officers or law enforcement in general that may linger for many years and have long term consequences. 

Over the past two decades, increasing emphasis has been placed on examination of the effects of these events on children of various ages and the ways in which law enforcement can make sure that involved children are not overlooked. But clear guidance for law enforcement agencies has not been widely available until now.

This report, an initiative of the Deputy Attorney General and White House Domestic Policy Council and sponsored by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, goes to the heart of the matter by providing detailed policy and procedure recommendations and an in depth look at the potential impact of parental arrests on children, whether they are at home at the time or not.

For more information, contact Phil Lynn at 703-836-6767 ext. 324.

PDF File:

Safeguarding Children of Arrested Parents - Final_Web_v2.pdf

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The grass is fraying around the edges in Washington, D.C.'s Franklin Square Park, but the trees are more important. They offer much-appreciated shade to the homeless people who sit below.
 
Many of the park benches are occupied by homeless men — but there are a few women too. Susan, sitting amid her bags in the park's northwest corner, is one of them. She's been on and off the streets of Washington since 1995 and asked that her last name not be used because she was in an abusive relationship and doesn't want her whereabouts known.
 
Susan says life on the streets is a constant battle for all homeless people, but for women it's particularly hard. On top of the everyday challenges of finding food and a safe place to sleep, she says, women face the threat of sexual violence and cruelty.
 
In nearly two decades on the streets, Susan, with graying hair and bright eyes, has learned some tough lessons.
 
Lesson One: Don't Look Like A Woman
 

 

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Police officer Daniel Holtzclaw worked the evening shift, from four in the afternoon until two in the morning, patrolling the northeastern part of Oklahoma City. Between February and June he allegedly sexually assaulted at least seven women while on duty, including a 57-year-old grandmother who says she was forced to give Holtzclaw oral sex after he pulled her over. According to police chief Bill Citty, Holtzclaw coerced the women, all of whom were black, into sexual acts by threatening to arrest them.

“They’ve pretty much got power in the palm of their hand. And it’s your word against theirs,” one resident of the neighborhood Holtzclaw patrolled told a reporter. Another said that rumors of the assaults had been circulating for weeks.

News of Holtzclaw’s arrest last Thursday was overshadowed by the police brutality occurring in Ferguson, Missouri. The killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, and the crackdown on people protesting his death highlighted endemic problems of racial profiling, brutality and militarization within American law enforcement. Several writers pointed out after Brown’s death that women of color are often left out of these stories of police violence. Sometimes that violence is lethal. In many other cases it’s sexual in nature.

“It’s a huge problem,” said Philip Stinson, a professor at Bowling Green State University and the principle investigator for a Department of Justice–funded research project on police integrity, about sexual assault by police officers. “There are many opportunities for someone, if they were a predator, to engage in crimes of sexual violence that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do because of the power and authority they have [as a police officer].”

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SEE ALSO:

One Week in the Hidden Epidemic of Police Violence Against Women

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Report claims police and council agencies failed victims, some of whom were threatened with guns and gang-raped

EXCERPT:

The report concluded: "No one knows the true scale of the child sexual 
exploitation (CSE) in Rotherham over the years. Our conservative 
estimate is that approximately 1,400 children were sexually exploited 
over the full inquiry period, from 1997 to 2013." 

In response, Rotherham council, which commissioned the report, said it 
accepted the findings, including the statement that failures "almost 
without exception" were attributed to senior managers in child 
protection services, elected councillors and senior police officers. 

It accepted that failures were not down to "frontline social or youth 
workers who are acknowledged in the report as repeatedly raising 
serious concerns about the nature and extent of this kind of child abuse".

SEE FULL ARTICLE

SEE ALSO: 

South Yorkshire police face new criticism over handling of major Crime,HMIC report finds under-fire police force failed to investigate allegations of major crime including rape and sexual assault

AND FULL REPORT HERE

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   Falta estudios con visión de género para abatir trata de personas

Debido a que los estudios en México sobre trata de personas y explotación sexual con enfoque de género son prácticamente nulos, expertas feministas presentaron el Centro de Documentación e Investigación sobre  mujeres en situación de prostitución “Josephine Butler”.
 
Las impulsoras del proyecto son Fabiola Bailón, historiadora e investigadora del Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas de la UNAM, y Verónica Caporal, perita antropóloga de la Fiscalía Especial para los delitos de Violencia contra las Mujeres y Trata de Personas (Fevimtra), de la Procuraduría General de la República.
 
Ambas son coautoras del libro “Diagnóstico del ciclo vital de mujeres en situación de prostitución y su relación con el proxenetismo”, el cual fue publicado recientemente y deriva de una investigación cualitativa y entrevistas a mujeres en situación de prostitución en diferentes lugares de México.
 
La importancia del proyecto de documentación, comentaron las especialistas durante la presentación, es que las feministas intervengan en las discusiones sobre las medidas que los gobiernos toman de manera coyuntural para “supuestamente” erradicar la trata de personas.

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John Meekins has been a corrections officer in Florida for more than nine years. Throughout his career, he has often heard female inmates talk about being prostituted and held captive by pimps—a situation he initially considered a consequence for many drug abusers.

However, he started asking more questions and soon discovered many of these women are victims of human trafficking. With further inquiry, he also learned about a network of female prisoners who are actively recruiting inmates on behalf of outside pimps.

How Pimps Are Reaching Inside Prison Walls
woman sitting in jailMeekins discovered that pimps are using these inside recruiters to identify vulnerable women who are getting out of jail soon. Much of the communication between pimps and recruiters comes right through the prison mailroom. He has read dozens of letters written by pimps to their recruiters specifying how many women they must recruit and how much they will be paid for their services.

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This past week, a Florida pastor was arrested for failing to report the suspected sexual abuse of a child. Over a year ago, one of the three young victims informed the pastor of the ongoing abuse. Though he provided the victim with counseling, the pastor never reported the crime to the police because he “didn’t have proof”.

How does a pastor respond when informed of allegations concerning child sexual abuse? All too often the responses by pastors are too little too late.   Here is a simple rule that should be followed by pastors and everyone else: Immediately report allegations of child sexual abuse.   Not only will you potentially save the life of a child and stop the heinous acts of a predator, but you will also most likely be following the law.

Approximately 27 states specifically designate members of the clergy (pastors) as mandated reporters. Another 18 states designate all adults to be mandated reporters of suspected child abuse. This means that in almost every state of the country, pastors are mandated by law to report suspected child abuse or face criminal prosecution. Even in those limited circumstances when a pastor is not a mandated reporter, nothing prevents him/her from voluntarily reporting suspected abuse to the authorities.

Confessional - photo courtesy of Brian Allen via Flickr

 Show caption

Confessional – photo courtesy of Brian Allen via Flickr(Image source)

Perhaps the most confusing issue for most pastors related to reporting child sexual abuse is what to do when a perpetrator is the one who discloses the abuse. If a perpetrator confesses to sexually abusing a child to a pastor, every effort should be made by the pastor to insure that the offender immediately reports his/her crime to the authorities. This should certainly be the expectation if the perpetrator has expressed a desire to demonstrate repentance. Expressing repentance for a crime without voluntarily submitting to the civil authorities is manipulation, not repentance. The dark reality is that most offenders who confess abuse to a pastor won’t report themselves to the authorities. In those circumstances, the pastor has a fundamental decision to make; remain silent and protect a perpetrator, or report the abuse and protect a vulnerable

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