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April 2023Vol. 24, No. 3A Review of Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Laws and Policy Recommendations for State Legislators

The "Call to Action for Policymakers and Advocates: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Legislation in the States" report published by the Enough Abuse Campaign reviews five laws aimed at preventing sexual abuse through school-based initiatives and provides recommendations for legislation and policy changes to prevent and respond to child sexual abuse in the United States. It outlines the need for more robust legislation and policies to protect children from sexual abuse, including expanding existing laws and creating new ones.

It encourages states to develop a comprehensive statewide strategy for preventing, responding to, and addressing child abuse, including strengthening laws related to mandatory reporting, expanding prevention education, providing trauma-informed care, and increasing funding for victim services. The report also calls for greater collaboration between federal, state, and local entities to ensure all efforts are coordinated and effective. It also emphasizes the importance of public awareness, education, and prevention efforts to create a culture of zero tolerance for child sexual abuse. It suggests greater accountability for perpetrators of child sexual abuse, including expanding criminal statutes of limitations, establishing a national registry for sex offenders, and improving the prosecution of online child sexual exploitation.

Finally, the report recommends implementing trauma-informed approaches to ensure victims and survivors of child sexual abuse receive the most effective care and support, and it includes specific recommendations for policymakers and advocates to consider to better protect children and prevent child sexual abuse. Policymakers and advocates can find greater detail about the five reviewed laws and state summaries in the full report.