Two New York State lawmakers have proposed a bill that would make it a criminal act for college coaches, athletic directors, administrators, and professors to fail to report child sex abuse to the police. This comes in the wake of recent sexual abuse allegations at both Penn State and Syracuse University . Coaching staff members and, in the case of Penn State, officials and administrators, have come under fire for not taking appropriate actions when confronted with claims of abuse. This bill would add college employees to a list of mandated child-sex abuse reporters that already includes K-12 teachers, physicians, and coaches. If a college employee is convicted of failing to report child sex abuse, he or she could face a misdemeanor charge and a year in jail. This bill might also make them more susceptible to civil charges by the victims.
A law such as this would help to put the focus on the children’s safety, which really should be the most important goal of a university. Sports programs bring in a lot of money but giving both the program and its employees too much unchecked power and control is not in the best interest of the athletes and the program over the long run.
What to do if you suspect your child is a victim of sexual abuse?
It is important to talk to your child in a comfortable environment. Let them know that they are not in trouble in any way and that you trust them.
Ask questions in a nonjudgmental way, and take care to avoid shaming your child as you ask questions.
- Talk with your child about secrets and make sure they understand that they don’t have to keep anything secret from you.
- Make sure they understand what inappropriate touching is, and that it is okay for them to say “no” if something makes them feel uncomfortable
- Let your child know that it is okay to come to you if someone is making them uncomfortable. Work to build an open relationship of trust.
- Let children know that they will not be in trouble if they tell you about inappropriate touching.
The organization RAINN--Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network--shares more specific tips on their website for talking to both your child or any other child you suspect is being sexually abused.
How We Can Help
At Goldstein & Bashner, we have extensive experience in dealing with sexual assault cases in the New York and Long Island areas. We have helped to serve victims as both a close companion and as competent legal advisers. We have helped numerous assault victims and their families overcome the terrible wrong doings that they have had to encounter. In doing so, we have assisted victims in recovering monetary compensation for the physical and emotional injuries that they may have sustained. If you or somebody you care for has been the victim of a sexual assault, please contact us for a free consultation.