National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse

National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse


NAASCA Highlights

EDITOR'S NOTE: Occasionally we bring you articles from local newspapers, web sites and other sources that constitute but a small percentage of the information available to those who are interested in the issues of child abuse and recovery from it.

We present articles such as this simply as a convenience to our readership ...
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  Here are a few recent stories related to the kinds of issues we cover on the web site. They'll represent a small percentage of the information available to us, the public, as we fight to provide meaningful recovery services and help for those who've suffered child abuse. We'll add to and update this page regularly.

We'll also present stories about the criminals and criminal acts that impact our communities all across the nation. The few we place on this page are the tip of the iceberg, and we ask you to check your local newspapers and law enforcement sites. Stay aware. Every extra set of "eyes and ears" makes a big difference.

June 2011 - Recent Crime News - News from other times

JUNE - Week 5



Arcata businesses team up to raise funds for Childhelp

The Times-Standard

July 3, 2011

To help child and adult survivors of abuse, two Arcata businesses are teaming up to raise funds for Childhelp.

Established over 50 years ago, Childhelp is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of child abuse. It has a 24-hour hotline ( 1-800-FOR-A-CHILD ) staffed by professional counselors and therapists.

Soul to Soul Spa & Foot Bar, located at 854 10th St. in Arcata, is donating 15 percent of all services provided during their one year anniversary weekend, July 8 and 9, to Childhelp.

”We invite the community to help kick off our first anniversary party during Arts! Arcata on July 8 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. with music by Brian Woida, also known as DJ Mantease. Come support Childhelp all weekend by treating yourself to something nice,” owner Catherine Dickerson said in a press release.

Since opening last July, the business has grown to a staff of 10 people, increasing its services to include manicures and pedicures. A large workshop space was also added.

”Opening a business in a down economy was risky, but I saw an untapped niche in Arcata. We have done well, so far, and hope to continue to grow,” Dickerson said.

Another benefit for Childhelp is being organized by Arcata business owner Cate Holm of Kalos Salon and her staff.

”For the Love of a Child” is Saturday, July 23, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Elbutmo Barn in McKinleyville and features a barbecue dinner and music with Dr. Squid. Tickets are $25 per person, $45 per couple. Tickets are available at Soul to Soul Spa & Foot Bar and Kalos Salon. One hundred percent of event proceeds will go to Childhelp.

”Due to budget cuts affecting our local Child Abuse Services Team and other abuse survivor networks, we need to bring Childhelp to Humboldt County. We hope to sell 200 event tickets, to help start a Childhelp chapter here,” Holm said in a release.

To schedule an appointment call Soul to Soul Foot Spa & Foot Bar at 707-822-7685.

To learn more about the Childhelp fundraiser, visit


Alabama Voices: Elder abuse a hidden scourge

by Rick Heinzman

During May and June we celebrated Mothers' Day and Fathers' Day. But there were two other recent commemorations that did not receive a great deal of notice. May was Older Americans Month and June 15 was Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

The fact that Elder Abuse Awareness Day is often overlooked is ironic, because it underscores the most common problem with this tragedy. Elder abuse is seldom reported.

In fact, federal government studies suggest that 84 percent of elder abuse is not reported. For many reasons, elder abuse has been a difficult topic to catch and sustain public awareness.

There are several types of elder abuse. We typically think about physical abuse. However, emotional abuse and exploitation are probably more common. Sexual abuse, neglect and self-neglect are also problems among our elderly.

The insidious nature of many of these is that they usually involve family members. This is especially true of emotional abuse and exploitation.

Periodically we hear about a senior who has had his or her savings wiped out by an unscrupulous individual. Most of these reports are sensationalized and prosecuted. However, for every one of these types of situations, it is estimated that eight other abuses go unreported.

Too often adult children or teenagers take advantage of mom, dad, grandpa, or grandma. And because the abuse involves family, many seniors do not report these activities. They are too embarrassed to admit that a relative is dishonest or they don't want to get a grandson or granddaughter in trouble.

Also, they may be dependent on the abuser for transportation or connections to the world outside their home. Therefore, they simply tolerate the situation.

Elder abuse is a dilemma. Those who are least able to protect themselves are most often victims. We recognize a similar situation with child abuse, but we seldom extend that concern to elders.

As we age, we may suffer from diminished facilities, but our pride and self worth are not reduced. Everyone should recognize that elder abuse is a problem and attempt to recognize the signs.

Physical abuse is probably the easiest to recognize. Warning signs include slap marks and unexplained bruises.

Neglect is exemplified by filth, lack of medical care, malnutrition, or dehydration.

Emotional abuse includes withdrawal from normal activities and unexplained changes in alertness.

Sexual abuse normally involves bruises around the breasts or genital area.

Financial abuse and exploitation should be suspected if there are sudden changes in finances, unusual bank withdrawals, and loss of property.

Financial abuse and exploitation is most difficult for a friend or neighbor to recognize because there are no outward signs. However, maintaining contact and a dialogue with senior friends can often lead to suspect activities.

Elder abuse may not be as attention-grabbing as child abuse, but it is often disastrous for the abused. This does not need to be the case. Attentiveness by all can provide relief for those affected.

If you suspect abuse there are several avenues to pursue action. First, it is usually appropriate to discuss suspect situations with the elder involved. The fact that someone notices and cares enough to speak out may be the opening that the senior has been waiting for.

If there are obvious signs of physical abuse, contact your local law enforcement agency. Physical abuse is normally considered assault and will be investigated.


New Zealand

Hard-hitting plans to crack down on child abuse

July 3, 2011

ONE News

The new Children's Commissioner says tough new laws to crack down on child abuse can't come soon enough.

Hawkes Bay paediatrician Dr Russell Wills has come out in strong support of proposed new Government legislation designed to further protect children.

He told TV ONE's Marae Investigates programme that families who stay silent after children are abused or killed will in the future face criminal charges.

Wills said his mission is to save children from abuse and neglect, and he is due to take up the five-year position tomorrow.

"If someone can seriously hurt or kill a child and no-one is held accountable - that is just wrong," he said.

Wills said in cases like the death of the Kahui twins, there's nothing the police or courts can do if the family decides to close ranks and not identify those responsible.

But under law changes already underway, the whole family would be held accountable.

"It also means the family might have second thoughts about what they do - either we all go to jail or someone's held accountable," Wills said.

The proposed changes to the Crimes Act will also double the maximum penalty for cruelty to a child to 10 years imprisonment.

The new laws are being fast-tracked and could be in force by the end of the year.

And the changes are getting backing from child protection agencies.

"There needs to be a consequence, and adults need to be held accountable. If they could have taken action to protect children then they need to be held accountable for not having done so," said Liz Kinley from Jigsaw Family Services.

Wills believes poverty is firmly linked to child neglect and abuse, and he wants to see Government funding go directly to the poor and to intensive services for under five-year olds.

"One of the big culture changes of this has been acceptance within health that child protection and domestic violence are our core business of health. These are fundamental skills that we need to have. It's a big change," he said.

Among the 34 countries in the OECD, New Zealand has one of the highest rates of child poverty and lowest investment in the first five years of life.


UAE joins fight against child abuse

New centre to coordinate with various organisations as part of broader international efforts

Abu Dhabi: A specialised centre to keep a record of all cases involving children in the UAE was established on Saturday.

A ministerial decree, issued by Lieutenant General Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, announced the establishment of the new organisational unit which will be called "the Ministry of Interior centre for child protection".

The new centre will be engaged in developing strategies for child protection. It will also be involved in investigating crimes committed against children, and ensure that the people who commit these crimes are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

The centre will coordinate with various organisations to receive all reports of child abuse.

It will also follow up with the public prosecution, the courts and relevant police departments to ensure registration of sexual predators against children.

The centre will also prepare statistics, reports and distribute them to the relevant authorities to provide moral and psychological support to victims and their families. "The UAE has come a long way in child protection," said Major General Nasser Lekhraibani Al Nuaimi, Secretary General of Shaikh Saif's office and the head of the high committee for child protection.


"The Committee undertook several policies and partnerships with various relevant organisations. The continuous efforts to review the laws and regulations in order to comply with the international standards have contributed positively to the development of our society," he added.

There will be several units, namely coordination and investigation, social support, prevention awareness and education on the rights of children, and training.

The centre will also participate in international symposiums and events, provide guidance on international policies and practices, and coordinate with courts and authorities on all matters related to child safety.

The new centre will strengthen coordination with social and media institutions, and work on distribution of information and educational material to protect children and increase the society's awareness of these crimes.



Two women try to raise money to end child abuse


July 3, 2011

For most people the Fourth of July weekend is a time to go out on the lake or nap in a hammock or grill burgers.

Most people aren't Carol Girard and Marie Barrientos.

While even the ducks and geese at Lake Park on Saturday dozed in the shade, Girard and Barrientos walked the trail that circles Lake Winona.

Four times.

The two have spent all week walking 21 miles around the lake daily — a seven-hour trek each time — to raise awareness and funds to end child abuse.

Four years ago, Barrientos and Girard founded Reach Everyone and Choose Hope, or REACH, a nonprofit dedicated to ending child abuse in Minnesota.

Each summer the duo have planned and executed an event similar to this week's “Tour of Hope.” Girard said the group chose to stay in Winona this year in order to breed more local awareness.

Friday's scorching heat dampened the duo's spirits somewhat.

“We had to stop walking around the lake before noon and didn't start up again until after seven,” Girard said. “We missed walking one of our laps around the lake.”

Saturday brought a new day.

“The support has been tremendous,” Barrientos said. “People have walked a lap with us, brought us food or donated money.”

Barrientos four-year-old daughter, Karianna, has also helped out by walking with her mother and raising money.

“I'm walking to keep kids safe. Will you pledge me?” she asks people.

“She never did get told ‘No,'” Barrientos said.



City MP has new sex-trade bill

Buyers of illicit acts now targets

OTTAWA -- Last year she went after the traffickers.

Now, Winnipeg MP Joy Smith is taking on the buyers.

This September, the Conservative MP from Kildonan-St. Paul will introduce legislation to criminalize the act of buying sex.

"I want to target the demand," said Smith. "If you take the market away, these victims aren't in such jeopardy."

Smith has made human trafficking the central focus of her political career and last year had a private member's bill passed implementing mandatory minimum sentences for convictions of trafficking a minor.

The first anniversary of the bill just passed, and Smith said she's not done trying to wage war against one of the biggest criminal industries in the world.

The new bill will be modelled after the Nordic model of prostitution, which views women who sell sex as victims and those who buy sex as criminals and oppressors.

Sweden was the first to pass a law criminalizing the purchase of sex in 1998, but it has had mixed reviews and the impact on prostitution in Sweden is the subject of some debate. Being caught buying sex in Sweden will net you a fine of approximately 50 days' pay or up to a year in jail.

Criminalizing sex was one of the recommendations in the national strategy against human trafficking Smith wrote and released last year.

Currently the law in Canada targets those who sell sex, rather than those who buy it.

That, however, is potentially going to change depending on the outcome of a court case in Ontario where a judge struck down three anti-prostitution laws, including keeping a common bawdy house, communicating for the purposes of prostitution and living on the avails of prostitution. The decision has been put on hold pending a government appeal against the case.

Implementing a national strategy was one of the Conservatives' election promises, and Smith said she has the backing of the PMO for her new bill.

Although private member's bills are often considered the lowest of priority and get less time for debate than bills introduced by cabinet, Smith has a lucky streak going when it comes to her initiatives.

In 2008, she drew the third spot in the lottery for private member's bills that helped get the mandatory minimum sentence bill through. The draw, usually done at the start of each Parliament, determines the order in which the hundreds of bills introduced by individual MPs get debated. A low number gives a bill much better odds of actually making it to a vote.

When the draw was done this spring, Smith and her caucus-mates were shocked when she pulled a four.

"Everyone is teasing me saying they're going to take me to Las Vegas," said Smith.

Her first human trafficking bill, C-268, could get its first use after two men were arrested and charged with trafficking offences in the Halton and Peele regions of southern Ontario. They both face multiple charges including trafficking of a minor, the offence created by C-268. If convicted, they would be sentenced to a minimum of five years in prison.



The dark legacy of child abuse

A hidden history of child abuse may lie behind the myriad social problems that afflict Australia, from its high rate of depression to its high rate of homelessness.

We are more aware, partly thanks to the wayward Catholic clergy, of the existence of child abuse. But that has not translated into an understanding of its pervasive and long-lasting legacy.

In a room of 100 women, 12 or 13 on average would have experienced sexual abuse as a child; in a room of 100 men, at least four or five would be survivors of sexual abuse. These figures come from the 2005 Australian Bureau of Statistics personal safety survey, and some in the field consider them conservative. Even so, it amounts to a substantial proportion of the population before one factors in the other forms of childhood abuse - physical, emotional and neglect.

Yet the enduring impact of childhood sexual abuse is rarely given a second thought when politicians and policymakers propose tough solutions to crime or welfare dependency, for example. If the possibility was entertained that deep trauma lies behind so many perplexing, infuriating and self-defeating behaviours, the response could be more compassionate and helpful.

Because it is the ultimate taboo, the question is rarely asked of people in deep trouble, and even the more sensitive inquiry about childhood ''trauma'' is hardly standard. Those who have experienced sexual abuse in their early life are not usually quick to tell. So we don't know for sure what proportion of prisoners, homeless people or people with mental illness, for example, have been raped or molested as children.

A sliver of data indicates the possible high prevalence of such childhood trauma among marginalised groups. When the question was asked of girls in NSW juvenile justice detention centres in 2009, almost 40 per cent had a history of sexual abuse. The recently released findings of the Young People in Custody Health Survey show that the average age of first having sex was 13, and that nearly one-third of the girls had been pregnant.

Without a recognition of the secret history of sexual assaults in the early lives of so many people with seemingly intractable problems, it is hard to know whether a tough response is the right one. It seems doubtful that locking up all those girls in detention centres is the appropriate therapy. But then again, those on the outside have had little access to therapeutic help in Australia's hitherto underfunded child and adolescent mental health services.

Most victims of child sexual assault do not end up in jail or on the streets. As with all traumas, an individual's response is shaped by their personality and intelligence, and family support, and, in the case of victims of rape or molestation, by whether they are believed by the adults they confide in. There is some evidence that in the hierarchy of sins perpetrated against children, it is parental neglect that does the most damage.

Even so, the risk factors are high that childhood sexual assault will leave a permanent mark. A 2010 Victorian study by Margaret Cutajar and others found the suicide risk was 18 times higher among adult survivors of child sex abuse than in the general population. An Australian universities study found that even in later life the adult survivors of abuse were 4½ times more likely to be unhappy than people who had not suffered such a trauma.

Therapists write of patients overwhelmed by shame and self-hatred, subject to storms of depression that interfere with their ability to form intimate relationships; of chaotic lives, and a sense of safety and trust eroded.

Awareness is the start of understanding and prevention. Some heartening evidence emerged in an Australian study by Michael Dunne and others that the incidence of child sexual abuse may be in decline. In 2000, people aged 18 to 29 were less likely to have reported unwanted penetrative or non-penetrative sex before the age of 16 than older age groups, right up to 59-year-olds. It was worse, it seems, in the ''good old days''.

Better sex education and more openness about sex have punctured the naivety that was disastrous for children in the past.

Children are better able to recognise, rebuff and report ''bad'' touching. And the end of institutional care of children has also been protective.

Last month the NSW Police Commissioner, Andrew Scipione, described child sex abuse as the ''monster that is eating at the very heart of our society''. He revealed that more than half the state's 6042 victims of sexual assault in 2009 were 15 or under.

Outrage should not end when the children who are the victims grow up. A history of rape or molestation in childhood is perhaps no more valid an excuse than other early misfortunes for criminal, indolent, or out-of-control behaviour in later life.

But unless we can provide the right response, better access to the therapy that helps children and adults alike, exhorting survivors of childhood sexual abuse to ''get on with it'' seems particularly hard-hearted. In formulating harsh policy responses to long-term welfare recipients, juvenile delinquents or other unpopular marginalised groups, the possibility should be held in mind that they are carrying the terrible legacy of childhood sexual abuse and need help to recover.

Yet the enduring impact of childhood sexual abuse is rarely given a second thought when politicians and policymakers propose tough solutions to crime or welfare dependency, for example. If the possibility was entertained that deep trauma lies behind so many perplexing, infuriating and self-defeating behaviours, the response could be more compassionate and helpful.

Because it is the ultimate taboo, the question is rarely asked of people in deep trouble, and even the more sensitive inquiry about childhood ''trauma'' is hardly standard. Those who have experienced sexual abuse in their early life are not usually quick to tell. So we don't know for sure what proportion of prisoners, homeless people or people with mental illness, for example, have been raped or molested as children.

A sliver of data indicates the possible high prevalence of such childhood trauma among marginalised groups. When the question was asked of girls in NSW juvenile justice detention centres in 2009, almost 40 per cent had a history of sexual abuse. The recently released findings of the Young People in Custody Health Survey show that the average age of first having sex was 13, and that nearly one-third of the girls had been pregnant.

Without a recognition of the secret history of sexual assaults in the early lives of so many people with seemingly intractable problems, it is hard to know whether a tough response is the right one. It seems doubtful that locking up all those girls in detention centres is the appropriate therapy. But then again, those on the outside have had little access to therapeutic help in Australia's hitherto underfunded child and adolescent mental health services.

Most victims of child sexual assault do not end up in jail or on the streets. As with all traumas, an individual's response is shaped by their personality and intelligence, and family support, and, in the case of victims of rape or molestation, by whether they are believed by the adults they confide in. There is some evidence that in the hierarchy of sins perpetrated against children, it is parental neglect that does the most damage.

Even so, the risk factors are high that childhood sexual assault will leave a permanent mark. A 2010 Victorian study by Margaret Cutajar and others found the suicide risk was 18 times higher among adult survivors of child sex abuse than in the general population. An Australian universities study found that even in later life the adult survivors of abuse were 4½ times more likely to be unhappy than people who had not suffered such a trauma.

Therapists write of patients overwhelmed by shame and self-hatred, subject to storms of depression that interfere with their ability to form intimate relationships; of chaotic lives, and a sense of safety and trust eroded.

Awareness is the start of understanding and prevention. Some heartening evidence emerged in an Australian study by Michael Dunne and others that the incidence of child sexual abuse may be in decline. In 2000, people aged 18 to 29 were less likely to have reported unwanted penetrative or non-penetrative sex before the age of 16 than older age groups, right up to 59-year-olds. It was worse, it seems, in the ''good old days''.

Better sex education and more openness about sex have punctured the naivety that was disastrous for children in the past.

Children are better able to recognise, rebuff and report ''bad'' touching. And the end of institutional care of children has also been protective.

Last month the NSW Police Commissioner, Andrew Scipione, described child sex abuse as the ''monster that is eating at the very heart of our society''. He revealed that more than half the state's 6042 victims of sexual assault in 2009 were 15 or under.

Outrage should not end when the children who are the victims grow up. A history of rape or molestation in childhood is perhaps no more valid an excuse than other early misfortunes for criminal, indolent, or out-of-control behaviour in later life.

But unless we can provide the right response, better access to the therapy that helps children and adults alike, exhorting survivors of childhood sexual abuse to ''get on with it'' seems particularly hard-hearted. In formulating harsh policy responses to long-term welfare recipients, juvenile delinquents or other unpopular marginalised groups, the possibility should be held in mind that they are carrying the terrible legacy of childhood sexual abuse and need help to recover.


Vatican fights child abuse online

July 2, 2011

VATICAN CITY: The Vatican is turning to the Internet in its struggle against child abuse with a new website allowing clergy around the world to share information on eradicating the problem.

A key figure behind the initiative is German psychologist priest Hans Zollner from the Vatican's Gregorian University, who spoke to AFP about the need for fundamental changes in how the Catholic Church handles abuse cases.

"Bishops have to give priority to victims," said Zollner, a member of the order of Jesuits, often seen as intellectuals inside the Church.

"People working inside dioceses and religious orders should be taught to listen to them. All complaints have to be taken seriously," he said.

Zollner's university will host a conference next February at which the new e-learning centre is expected to be launched, with some 200 experts, diocesan officials and representatives of congregations attending.

It will be "a step ... on a long and painful path," Zollner said, adding the website would bring together the latest research on child abuse and Church laws, while allowing churches in different countries to have their say.

The website will be in five languages -- English, French, German, Italian and Spanish -- and the project is funded to last three years.

The Church is struggling to deal with rising anger and a string of lawsuits following thousands of abuse claims in Europe and the United States.

But many in the Church are concerned that the cases uncovered so far may only be the tip of the iceberg since abuses in much of the developing world -- including in Africa and Latin America -- have so far received little attention.

Pope Benedict XVI's ever stronger denunciations of abuse are bringing some changes, however, and national bishops conferences around the world are set to come up with common guidelines against paedophiles by May 2012.

Zollner explained the process is slow and complex because of wide variations in national laws and the need for international coordination.

"The general sensitivity to the problem has clearly increased," he said.

"But the Church is not a monolithic block. Sensitivities are very different. A critical point appears to have been reached," he added.

"Many bishops are now saying: 'We have to act'. There needs to be a more consistent and coordinated response as wanted by the Holy Father."

The common agreement in the Church is that those responsible "must receive their punishment according to Church law and criminal law," he said.

Among the changes Zollner has been working on, is stricter psychological tests for would-be priests to identify possible abusers.

The e-learning centre will make use of research from the child and adolescent psychiatry department at Ulm university in Germany, he said.

Abuse victims groups have accused the Vatican of failing to take the problem of paedophilia seriously early on, of not cooperating with police and allowing priests and bishops who covered up for abusers to go unpunished.

"For almost all victims, the most important thing is to be heard by a representative of the institution whose members have hurt them," Zollner said.

Victims "should have the chance to express all their pain, anger, depression and fears to an official representative of the Church," he added.

"The pope's stance is there should no longer be priests who are protected and moved along. The Church must no longer give the impression it is shielding the perpetrators as it has often been seen as doing in the past," he said.

The Jesuit father added: "It makes the victims suffer a second time."


Seattle mayor, police target Village Voice classifieds

Seattle Weekly editor says company has been addressing concerns


Seattle's mayor and police chief said a classified website run by Village Voice Media, which operates Seattle Weekly, is being used to exploit children. They joined actor Ashton Kutcher in speaking out against the company.

Seattle police called an "accelerant" of underage sex trafficking, both in print and online. The site has been associated with a Seattle prostitution string earlier this year, a case that this month led to a 19-year-old Seattle woman being charged with child prostitution, a pimping case of an Auburn teen and others.

Seattle Weekly's Editor-In-Chief, Mike Seely, said he's pleased Mayor Mike McGinn is concerned about sex trafficking and underage prostitution, but noted Village Voice Media has been working to combat it longer than Kutcher has.

"We've received a growing number of reports that is being used to exploit children," McGinn said Friday afternoon. "It's just wrong. We're asking them and other sites to meet with us to find ways to protect children from exploitation and help keep our communities safe."

Seely said the "majority of's employees are charged with making sure inappropriate or illegal adult or personal content either doesn't make it onto the site or is reported to the proper authorities or advocacy organizations, such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children."

A 2008 report from the Seattle Human Services Department reported estimated between 300 and 500 minors were exploited for commercial sex in King County, according to McGinn.

At McGinn's press briefing Friday, police Lt. Eric Sano said this year there have been four documented cases of child prostitution openly advertised on

"Village Voice Media can take proactive steps to address this problem," Sano said, "and we'd like to sit down with them to help clean up their ads."

Backpage staff have been cooperative and helpful with police investigations, Seattle Weekly staff said.

Seely said Kutcher has a worthy cause, adding that the company is working to combat child prostitution. He suggested Kutcher instead should support State Bill 596, which funds social services for runaways and teenage prostitutes.

"However, the way in which he's going about raising awareness is careless and counterproductive," Seely said, "two adjectives which could also be used to describe his entire body of work as an actor."



Senator Katherine Clark Joins Senate to Crack Down on Human Trafficking

New criminal penalties and fines included in Senate Bill

[Editor's note: The following is information from a press statement released by Sen. Katherine Clark's Office.]

The Senate on Thursday unanimously passed legislation that cracks down on human trafficking in Massachusetts with strong criminal penalties for forced labor and sexual servitude, Senator Katherine Clark announced.

The bill also establishes important protections for victims of human trafficking.

"This is a critical step as we work to eliminate this horrific enterprise that violates human rights, attacks public safety, and undermines social and economic progress,” Clark said. "I am proud the Senate passed this important legislation that will give law enforcement the necessary tools to combat this horrendous and exploitative crime."

"We must protect victims, especially children, and prevent these kinds of heinous crimes from occurring in the Commonwealth," Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) said.

"Today's vote is another major step toward ending the exploitation of victims for sexual servitude and labor in our Commonwealth," Attorney General Martha Coakley said Thursday.

The Senate bill includes criminal sentences up to five years in prison for attempted trafficking, up to 20 years for trafficking adults, and up to life imprisonment for the trafficking of minors.

Businesses involved in trafficking would face up to a $1 million fine for the first offense, with a mandatory minimum of 10 years to a maximum of life for a second offense. These offenses also carry a five-year mandatory minimum sentence.

The legislation also removes any statute of limitations for trafficking crimes and creates a 15-year criminal penalty for trafficking human organs.

The Senate bill updates sex offender registration laws to include human trafficking. This would require anyone convicted of the crime to register in Massachusetts as a sex offender and would require the Department of Correction and the Department of Youth Services to notify law enforcement of the release of convicted sex traffickers.

In an effort to further protect and help victims, the legislation takes several steps including the creation of a "Victims of Human Trafficking Trust Fund" which will be funded from fines and convicted human traffickers' forfeited assets. The fund provides restitution and funding for victim services and related work done by law enforcement.

Additionally, items used in the commission of the crime (buildings, cars, boats, etc.) are subject to asset forfeiture. Half of the proceeds go to the Victims' Fund. The other half is split between the police and either the Attorney General or the district attorney prosecuting the case.

The legislation also:

  • Establishes an Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force, comprised of state officials, law enforcement, victims' services organizations and trafficking victims to investigate and study rates of human trafficking, prevention, and the treatment of victims.
  • Increases the penalty for soliciting a prostitute, and increases the penalty for soliciting sex from a person under 18.
  • Allows defendants who are victims of human trafficking and charged with prostitution to establish a defense of duress or coercion.
  • Establishes a "safe harbor provision" that allows the commonwealth, defendant or court to request a hearing for a child arrested for prostitution to instead receive protection services.
  • Requires the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to provide services to sexually exploited children and to immediately report to the district attorneys and the police any child the department believes to be a sexually exploited child.
  • Amends the mandated reporting law so that mandated reporters, such as doctors, social workers, teachers and probation officers, must report to DCF when they have reasonable cause to believe that a child is sexually exploited.
  • Establishes a process for victims of trafficking to bring civil actions.
  • Increases potential sentences for "Johns" to 2 ½ years in a house of correction and creates a mandatory $1,000 fine.

The legislation will now return to the House of Representatives for further consideration.



Clara Caruthers: Is sex trafficking slavery or prostitution?

The closing sentences of the "Sex for Sale" article June 26 (in The Times) state, "Sex trafficking is the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world. ... It spurs about $58 billion." The article's headline highlights the same number: "Prostitution a $58B business."

These sentences suggest sex trafficking is synonymous with prostitution. I was deeply troubled by the way the article alternately conflates and separates these terms. In response, I'd like to offer some relevant information I hope will be helpful as we tackle understanding this issue.

Sex trafficking is a form of modern slavery. According to the U.S. State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, sex trafficking occurs "when an adult is coerced, forced or deceived into prostitution — or maintained in prostitution through coercion ... ." Under these conditions, the adult in prostitution is considered a "victim of trafficking."

The article "Sex for Sale" mentions sex trafficking for the first time in its final paragraph.

By citing it as a $58 billion criminal industry — the same amount the headline attributes to prostitution — the article suggests that by talking about prostitution it has been simultaneously talking about sex trafficking.

It is certainly essential to understand sex trafficking as a component of many instances of prostitution.

But if we are to do so, it follows that we must recognize that not all women engaged in prostitution are criminals.

Instead, many are victims. They do not willfully offer "sex for sale"; rather, they are forced to provide sex to those who willfully buy it.

In the article, (Shreveport police) Sgt. Jerry O'glee states, "Prostitution comes in all forms"; and he notes that his team has found children as "young as 10 and 11." When the girls are that young, he says, "that's when we go after their pimps."

Most people agree that when a child is only 10 years old, we cannot dismiss the situation as an instance of someone who has willfully chosen to provide sex in exchange for compensation. We are confident there must be something more to the story; there must be someone exploiting this child. In response, we "go after their pimps," as O'glee comments.

But what happens when a girl is 18, 22 or 30 years old? Often, our default response shifts from assuming that exploitation is involved to assuming this individual willfully prostitutes herself to gain money. For some women, this may be the case. But it certainly isn't the case for many women.

Restricting ourselves to assuming that prostitution is the result of a woman's free choice overlooks the reality that many women deemed prostitutes do not actually operate as free individuals. Instead, they are trapped in organized networks of exploitation in which they must answer to pimps and deliver quotas of money under threat of violence toward themselves or their families.

When we see a girl as a victim when she is 11 but an automatic criminal when she is 18, we mask the fact that sex trafficking is a growing component of many instances of prostitution. We risk treating victims as perpetrators. And, in doing so, we not only inflict further harm upon these individuals; we also overshadow and let slip the real criminals at stake in the situation.

Clara Caruthers, of Shreveport, is a recent graduate of Stanford University who last summer participated in International Justice Mission's 5 Weeks for Freedom campaign, an 1,800-mile bicycle ride from Alabama to New York to raise awareness and funds to fight human trafficking and modern slavery.



Tehachapi schools to revise policies after gay student's suicide

Federal officials announced Friday a settlement had been reached with a central California school district where a 13-year-old gay student committed suicide after being subjected to persistent harassment from his classmates.

Seth Walsh, a middle school student in the Tehachapi Unified School District, was said to be the victim of merciless harassment from classmates because most of his friends were girls and he had dressed and acted in an effeminate way, investigators found.

After more than two years of being picked on, he hanged himself from a tree in his backyard in September 2010, ultimately prompting a federal investigation led by the U.S. departments of Education and Justice.

The investigation found the harassment -- which had escalated from verbal to physical and sexual harassment -- was so severe it inhibited his educational opportunities, and federal officials said the school district, located between Bakersfield and Mojave, violated the Civil Rights Act.

The agreement requires the district to revise its policies to prevent sexual and gender-based harassment in its schools and offer mandatory training for students, administrators and faculty.

In addition, the district will have to circulate “climate surveys” to measure harassment in its schools and form an advisory committee of administrators, students and parents to suggest ways to improve the school environment.


Effects of sexual abuse last for decades, study finds

Levels of so-called stress hormone are altered for years, sometimes causing physical & mental problems

by Joan Raymond contributor

June 30, 2011

Young girls who are the victims of sexual abuse experience physical, biological and behavioral problems that can persist for decades after, a new study shows.

Researchers, who tracked a group of girls ranging in age from 6 to 16 at the start of the study in 1987 for the next 23 years, found that they had higher rates of depression and obesity, as well as problems with regulation of brain chemicals, among other issues, compared to a control group of girls who were not abused.

The study, published in the Cambridge University Press journal Development and Psychopathology, was conducted by researchers from the University of Southern California and the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Those in the study were assessed by researchers six times at varying ages and developmental stages. Researchers hope to continue the study looking at the women, who are now in their 30s, as well as their children.

The racially-diverse group of 80 girls, who lived in the Washington, D.C., area, were victims of incest, broadly defined as suffering sexual abuse by a male living within the home. On average, the girls were abused for about two years prior to the abuse coming to the attention of child protective services. Some girls were abused when they were as young as age 2.

Compared to a non-abused control group, the researchers found the study participants, all of whom were provided three therapy sessions on average in group and individual settings, suffered severe effects during different stages of their lives, which affected their sexual and cognitive development, mental and physical health, as well as their brain chemical profile. Study participants were more likely to be sexually active at younger ages, have lower educational status, and have more mental health problems.

As children, they had higher levels of cortisol, the so-called "stress hormone," which is released in high levels during the body's "fight or flight" response. But by about age 15, testing showed that cortisol levels were below normal, compared to the control group. Lower levels of cortisol have been linked to a decrease in the body's ability to deal with stress, as well as problems with depression and obesity. Lower levels of the hormone have also been linked to post-traumatic stress disorder.

“The cortisol levels (of some study participants) wound up looking like Vietnam vets,” says study co-author Dr. Frank Putnam, professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. “That tells us they are in a chronic state of stress, and never feel safe.”

During the last assessment, when study participants were in their 20s, their cortisol levels remained lower than the control group, on average. “That tells us their stress response system is burned out,” says Putman, which could explain why some are doing so poorly in life.”

The long-term effects of the abuse “were absolutely profound,” says lead author and child psychologist Penelope Trickett, USC professor of Social Work. “It's just not mental health issues. Some of these women are suffering from a lot of problems today like sleep issues, poor health utilization, and have a lot of risky behaviors. It's very disturbing.”

Trickett says some women who have been sexually abused themselves have told her the findings validated their realities. “A woman came up to me once at a talk and identified herself as a childhood victim of sexual abuse and thanked me for these findings and for trying to shed light on this issue.”

She also noted that not all of the 80 women in the study are extremely disabled from their experience. In the abused group, some 40 percent are obese as adults, compared to 20 percent in the control group. “But that still means that almost 60 percent of the abused group are not obese,” says Trickett. “The groups are statistically different, and that's important. But both groups have variability. The abused group just has more variability within the group.”

Trickett also says the findings don't mean that once someone is abused they are destined to a lifetime of struggle.

“These women are more likely to have problems in mental health and physical health than those who haven't been abused,” she said. “But it really varies to what degree they are disabled by these challenges. Some are managing their lives pretty well, considering what they went through.”

Though the study participants received some psychological counseling there was no specific treatment for childhood trauma and sexual abuse in the late 1980s. “Three or four sessions isn't a lot of treatment; it's some, but it's little compared to today,” says Trickett. According to Putnam, evidence-based treatments, such as trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy, came about in the 1990s.

“But the big question is does treatment prevent these things from happening or reverse what has happened,” says Putnam. “And the answer is we don't know.”

The researchers hope that study data are used to develop more comprehensive treatment programs. “What is clear here is that abuse is not something that's a one-time fix,” says Trickett.

Prevention and getting kids into treatment early is “the first step,” says Carolyn Landis, a clinical psychologist with Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. “To see how these girls suffer into adulthood is extremely troubling,” she says.

“From my perspective, this data, especially regarding cortisol levels, can help professionals identify kids who may be at risk much earlier. We need to sensitize people and then find ways to help kids be safe.”



Diocese names ex-prosecutor to investigate clergy abuse allegations


The Kansas City Star

After weeks of turmoil, the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph on Thursday named a former prosecutor to investigate sexual misconduct claims against priests and others.

Jenifer Valenti, a former Jackson County assistant prosecutor, will serve in the new position of ombudsman and public liaison officer, the Roman Catholic diocese announced.

Bishop Robert W. Finn said in a statement that Valenti had worked closely with law enforcement agencies and had prosecuted domestic violence cases.

“She will have the responsibility and authority to receive and investigate reports of suspicious, inappropriate behavior or sexual misconduct by clergy, employees or program volunteers,” Finn said. “Within our 27-county diocese, I have asked her to focus particularly on reports relating to children and young people.”

The announcement came on the same day that a lawsuit was filed alleging sexual abuse by a Kansas City priest removed from his duties in June for what the diocese called credible allegations of misconduct with minors.

Valenti's position had been outlined in a five-point plan that the diocese recently offered as a response to lawsuits and allegations of sexual misconduct by clergy.

Last month Finn appointed Todd Graves, a former U.S. attorney for Western Missouri, to conduct an independent investigation of issues related to a priest charged with possessing child pornography.

In addition, Graves will lead a review of the diocesan ethical code of conduct and sexual misconduct policies.

Valenti's appointment will be effective July 15. Finn said her work would be independent and confidential.

Valenti will serve as an ex-officio member of the Independent Review Board, which is designed to assess sexual-abuse allegations against priests and make recommendations to the bishop.

“My last assignment in the prosecutor's office was in cases of physical and emotional abuse,” Valenti said in a statement released by the diocese. “To arrive at the truth, I established relationships with victims, law enforcement, victim advocates and the community.”

Valenti earned a law degree from the University of Missouri and joined the prosecutor's office in 1997.

She became a team leader and was responsible for six attorneys and two victim advocates.

Finn said that as ombudsman, Valenti's work would be closely aligned with Leslie Guillot, the victims' advocate. The victims' advocate provides confidential support and counseling resources for people who report being sexually abused, according to diocese officials.

Diocesan spokeswoman Rebecca Summers said Valenti would serve as the public's initial point of contact on sex abuse claims. She will consult with the Rev. Joseph Powers, who last week was appointed the vicar for clergy, Summers said.

David Clohessy, executive director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said he was skeptical about the appointment.

“Regardless of an individual's background, if he or she is picked and paid by the bishop, and answers to the bishop, little will change,” Clohessy said. “Kids, parents and families need independent professionals in law enforcement to step up here. They don't need the bishop bolstering his staff and calling that ‘reform.' ”

The lawsuit filed Thursday was the second against the Rev. Michael Tierney in nine months that alleges sexual abuse.

The suit, filed in Jackson County Circuit Court by Edward Sandridge, 52, accuses Tierney of sexually abusing Sandridge at a YMCA in the early 1970s. It says the diocese knew of Tierney's misconduct with children and covered it up.

The lawsuit names both Tierney and the diocese as defendants. It seeks unspecified monetary damages.

“It seems once again that the Catholic Church — of which I am still a member — has forsaken its congregation,” Sandridge said in a statement issued Thursday. “Four weeks ago, when I read that (Tierney) had just been removed from Christ the King (Church), I was angered and appalled. I thought he was out of the ministry entirely.”

Neither Tierney nor his attorney from the previous lawsuit could be reached for comment Thursday. But the lawyer has said that Tierney had done nothing wrong.

The diocese said in a statement that “neither Sandridge nor anyone acting in his behalf ever brought this complaint to the attention of the diocese,” adding that “at this time the diocese cannot comment on the substance of the complaints, which are reported to have occurred in 1971 and 1972.”

According to the lawsuit, Tierney began paying special attention to Sandridge, a shy boy who didn't feel that he fit in when he arrived at St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church at age 13.

In the winter of the 1971-72 school year, the lawsuit alleges, Tierney invited Sandridge to go swimming at the YMCA. When they arrived, the locker room was empty, and Tierney removed his clothes, telling Sandridge that “they swim naked here.” Tierney pulled Sandridge's swim trunks off, then took him to the pool, where they swam nude together. Tierney tickled and wrestled with the boy, repeatedly pulling him close, the lawsuit says.

“Edward to this day does not remember all of the events that transpired,” the lawsuit says. “He does recall beginning to cry at the YMCA, and he cried all the way home.”

The lawsuit says that Sandridge has been going through the process of recovering the memories of the event. The memories began coming back, it says, when Sandridge learned last fall that Tierney was still active in ministry.

Tierney was accused in a civil lawsuit last September of molesting a 13-year-old Missouri boy in 1971. And in a civil lawsuit filed in February against another priest, Tierney was accused of making “lewd and inappropriate comments” to a boy who was allegedly being molested by the priest. Tierney was not named as a defendant in that lawsuit.

On June 2, Finn removed Tierney from his duties as pastor of Christ the King parish in Kansas City and from all other public ministry. He said the diocese and its review board — which is charged with assessing sexual abuse allegations against priests — had received “credible reports alleging sexual misconduct with minors by Father Michael Tierney in the early 1970s and 1980s.”

The diocese said in a statement at the time that “Father Tierney continues to deny these allegations but has cooperated fully in this process.”

SNAP held a news conference outside the diocesan headquarters Thursday, saying the bishop should have moved faster to remove Tierney from his duties.

“For more than six months we repeatedly urged Bishop Finn to suspend Tierney and launch a thorough, independent investigation into the allegations against him,” said Barbara Dorris, the group's outreach director. “The bishop has promised a ‘one strike and you're out' policy. But it took three men to accuse Tierney of abuse before Finn finally suspended him.”

To reach Glenn E. Rice, call 816-234-4341 or send email to To reach Judy L. Thomas, call 816-234-4334 or send email to



Childhelp River Bridge battles child sex abuse

Provides training for those working with traumatized children

June, 29 2011

by Niki Delson

“It had been a deep, dark secret time, until the day it all changed. I woke up just like every other day. I got on my clothes and went to school. That's when it happened. The secret was cracked, like me drinking a coconut, except coconuts aren't secrets. It was the day I learned to get my pride back.”

These are the words of a 9-year-old boy, describing the day the perpetrator of his sexual abuse was discovered. His description came after attending 12 weeks of therapy for victims of sexual assault with therapist Meghan Hurley at Childhelp River Bridge.

Did you know that the majority of sexually victimized children are molested not by a stranger, but by a person they know, love and trust? How does a child tell the adult world about that?

Decades ago, most children never disclosed. It was a time when so many grown-ups did not believe their “story.”

If they did find the courage to share their experience, they had to tell it repeatedly. As a result, many people were involved — police officers, a child protection worker, a nurse or doctor, the district attorney — each having a different role in the investigation. The professionals combined efforts to uncover the truth and to help, but it was confusing and stressful for all involved.

Child sexual abuse made its way to public consciousness more than 30 years ago, but it has taken decades of research and professional training to create an atmosphere in which children can safely reveal the intimate details of such betrayal, said Susan Ackerman, director of Childhelp River Bridge.

As with so many non-profit agencies, Childhelp started as a small group of people recognizing the need for a different way to approach a serious problem. They wanted to create an agency to improve the situation. In the process, they learned of Children's Advocacy Centers, the fastest growing community-based model for coordinating multidisciplinary investigations of child abuse.

In December 2007, after three years of hard work, collaboration and cooperation, Childhelp River Bridge, became one of more than 600 Children's Advocacy Centers in the United States.

In the three years since opening their doors, Childhelp has served nearly 300 sexually abused children ages 3-18 and offers frequent training for professionals and community members who work with youth.

In 2010, Childhelp received accreditation through the National Children's Alliance, meeting 10 standards that ensure effective, efficient, culturally competent, and consistent delivery of service to children.

In Garfield County, children are not put through the ordeal of multiple interviews. When an allegation of sexual abuse is reported, representatives from many agencies assemble a multi-disciplinary team. Rather than having to navigate multiple confusing, repetitive interviews, community agencies coordinate their work on behalf of the child.

“Our primary mission is to respond to victims. We also provide education and awareness to prevent new victims,” said Ackerman.

Childhelp provides training for the community, and for professionals working with traumatized children. In 2010, Childhelp trained 28 local therapists in trauma-focused treatment.

Hurley also presents workshops for parents on how to protect their child from sexual abuse.

In April, which was Child Abuse Prevention Month, Childhelp brought in investigators Mike and Cassandra Harris from the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office. They addressed 2,000 students in five area high schools on the subject of Internet and cell phone safety.

High school may be late to start talking with teens about self-protection in the digital age. The Harrises emphasized that children as young first- or second-graders are already online and vulnerable to predators. The Jefferson County program on Internet and cell phone safety is available online at

In addition to special speakers, Childhelp provides training to people working in professions that are required to report suspected child abuse.

“Our therapists also provide training on the myths and facts of sex abuse, geared toward anyone who may work with youth. We offer these classes about four times a year,” Ackerman said.

She is also available for presentations to service clubs and other community groups in Garfield, Rio Blanco, Eagle and Pitkin counties to let people know about the services offered by Childhelp River Bridge.


Sexual abuse victims likely to face decades of health issues, mental and physical, USC research finds

24-year study tracked hormone levels, cognitive development and physical development of 80 girls into adulthood, parenthood

Girls who were the victim of sexual abuse are biologically changed, a 24-year study from researchers at the University of Southern California and the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center found.

The study followed 80 sexually abused girls, starting when they were an average of 11 years old.

Impacts to the participants included:

  • Sexual development – Sexually active at a younger age; more teen mothers and pre-term deliveries.

  • Cognitive development – Lower educational attainment.

  • Psycho-biological – An elevation in cortisol in their youth then a slow attenuation to lower than normal levels as an adult, which could affect sleep, weight and depression.

  • Mental and physical health – More depression, more addiction, more obesity.

The findings from this study, published in Cambridge University Press' "Development and Psychopathology” in May, further the process of translating basic scientific knowledge into more effective interventions for improving social, educational, medical and mental health outcomes for girls who experienced childhood sexual abuse.

“Sexual abuse has profound affects, and not just depression or addiction, but on education and sexually risky behavior,” said lead author Penelope Trickett, USC professor of Social Work. “And not just their mental health when they are young, but issues continue into all different stages of life.”

In the course of the study that began in 1987, “sleeper effects” emerged over time spans that previously had not been studied, including increasing obesity and cortisol changes. These effects took time to become evident, but may have been prevented with appropriate treatment in youth.

It was not that surprising to find that cortisol – known as the stress hormone – was at elevated levels in children under such circumstances. But the study found that coritsol levels did a curious thing in the adult women who had been abused as children: The chemical leveled off and then dipped to significantly lower levels when compared to other women. Cortisol levels are related to sleep, weight and depression.

The study, by Trickett and Jennie G. Noll and Frank W. Putnam of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, began when the girls werebetween the ages of 6 and 16. The median age at the onset of abuse was 7.5 years and duration was about two years.

“Over one million children are abused or maltreated each year in the U.S, with hundreds of thousands being sexual abuse cases,” Noll said. “These numbers are staggering when you consider the that many of today's victims will endure long-term consequences that are of major public health concern including as obesity, teen pregnancy, substance use and psychopathology.

“If child abuse could be more comprehensively addressed and treated, we would likely see an ancillary impact on these public health issues."

Trickett noted the girls had an average of three therapy sessions after the abuse was discovered.

“They need more help at the time and as they grow they need to continue to address the issues,” Trickett said. “This is not a one-time fix.”

During this time, researchers have also been monitoring a specially chosen control group that mirrored the age, ethnicity, geographic area and economic background of the study group for comparison.

This analysis is now looking into the third generation, by including the parents and now the children of the abused in the study. The researchers plan to continue the study for years to come.

The research was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect as well as many private foundations.



Local agencies pool resources to help solve child abuse cases

by Russell Plummer

The Reporter

Dealing with child abuse is a team effort between families and numerous agencies in Fond du Lac County.

That partnership was tested earlier this year when the Fond du Lac County Sheriff's Department handled two cases that resulted in life-altering injuries to one child and the death of another.

“A lot of times, child abuse cases come into our department or go to Social Services,” said Lt. Cameron McGee, head of the Sheriff's Department's detective bureau. “With that, a DSS social worker and detective work pretty much hand in hand. Together, we run a joint investigation where, on our end, we look for any criminal wrongdoing. Social Services handles the after-care and family issues.”

Tyler J. Jackson allegedly injured his girlfriend's 18-month-old daughter, Chloe Gessner, the morning of Dec. 21, 2010, according to the criminal complaint. Chloe later died from the injuries.

Jackson was charged with first-degree reckless homicide. His case is still pending as he is free after posting $200,000 bail.

Thomas J. Abitz Jr. allegedly injured his girlfriend's 2-year-old daughter on March 26, according to the complaint.

Abitz was charged with felony bail jumping and a Class F felony child abuse. He has a calendar call scheduled for July 15 and is free after posting $1,000.

The same detectives worked on a both cases, a task that is emotionally taxing, said McGee.

“Kids can't defend themselves. A lot of our detectives have kids. I have kids. (Emotionally), those are hard cases to work,” McGee said.

Loss of control

Any level of child abuse, McGee said, is usually tied to a “loss of control.”

Matthew Doll, PhD, a psychologist with Agnesian HealthCare's Doll & Associates, said there are many factors that are not necessarily the cause of the harm.

“Most abuse occurs at time of high stress by individuals with poor impulse control,” Doll said. “Some common factors include a history of abuse themselves, poor parenting skills, alcohol and/or substance abuse and social isolation such as being a single parent. Once someone looks at another person as less than a person, as an object, it is more likely they will be capable of harming them, physically, emotionally, sexually or by neglect.”

When evaluating if a person could be a caretaker for a child, people should look for alcohol or drug concerns, a history of abuse, emotional issues or mental illness, high levels of stress, not looking after the child's physical needs, not appearing to love or have concern for the child, or frequent negative comments made about the child, he added.

“Abusers come from every social and economic background,” Doll said. “It is not possible to tell abusers from non-abusers by their background or appearance.”

However, when an abuser surfaces, it is up to the Fond du Lac County Department of Social Services (DSS) to step in and help the family.

Doll said DSS sets up a safety plan while Agnesian organizes treatment services for victims.

Making the call

Al Rolph, training supervisor at DSS, said people reporting abuse usually call police because “law enforcement is open 24/7.”

“Whether it is a criminal matter or not, they (officers) will refer it to us,” Rolph said. “When we get a report, we have social workers who are specifically trained to take in information for a report. Not only do we look at if a child was maltreated in terms of physically abuse, mentally abuse or neglected, we are also looking at certain factors that would make it likely that the child is going to be abused or neglected in the near future.”

Warning signs of abuse people can look for in children are being overly attached to their abuser in the hopes of appeasing them or flinching when they move suddenly and attempt to avoid the abuser, said Doll.

Regressed behavior, provocative disruptive behavior, anxiety, avoidance, negative self-statements, wearing concealing clothing and “poorly explained accidents” may be some of the signs, he added.


When investigating child abuse, detectives look for the alleged abuser to form a consistent pattern of deception, said McGee.
“Sometimes, provable lies are as good as a confession,” McGee said.

While DSS focuses on helping the family rebound from abuse, detectives are tasked with seeking justice.

“We would certainly like to see the perpetrator held accountable for the actions,” McGee said. “Those little kids can't defend themselves. They (abusers) need to held accountable. Sometimes, prison is in order.”

Additional Facts HELP AVOID ABUSE

  • The following tips are offered by Matthew Doll, a psychologist with Agnesian HealthCare's Doll & Associates:

    ~ Recognizing that we all have our limits and need to be ready to reach out to others or take a break can decrease the likelihood of abuse.

    ~ Talking up front about family history, risk factors and planning regular breaks, seeking support and education can help break the cycle of abuse.

    ~ Being mindful of our emotions and using anger as a signal that there is a concern to solve, not a signal that we need to become aggressive, can lead to better stress management.

    ~ Exercise, meditation, spirituality, good nutrition and social support all help decrease stress.

    ~ Offering social support, genuine concern, counseling and watchful guidance from extended family, clergy, friends and supportive people may also prevent abuse.

    ~ Mentoring and forming a support network for families has been shown to help as well. Letting a parent call and vent their frustration, encouraging them to take a break and offering to watch their child(ren), if needed, can all be lifesaving acts.


US places Cyprus on sex-trafficking ‘watch list'

by Patrick Dewhurst

June 30, 2011

CYPRUS has been placed on the US' sex trafficking watch list after failing to meet minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, failing to show evidence of increased efforts to do so and ‘woefully inadequate' punishments.

According to the US Department of State's 2011 report: “The Government of Cyprus does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking... (having) failed to demonstrate evidence of increasing efforts to address human trafficking... and failed to vigorously prosecute or convict trafficking offenders.”

The stark assessment means Cyprus has moved from a “Tier 2” to a “Tier 2 watch list” country, alongside, among others, Burundi, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Estonia and Malta were the only other European countries to receive Tier 2 watch list status.

Asked about the report, Police spokesman Michalis Katsounotos said yesterday: “We have received the report and we are studying the observations within it, to see if there are any gaps and new measures to be taken.”

The report does indeed highlight several gaps. Over the year, the government identified 17 victims of forced labour, 24 sex-trafficking victims and two victims subjected to both labour and commercial sexual exploitation.

Twenty-four victims of sex trafficking were identified during the reporting period, in comparison with 21 such victims identified in 2009 and 41 in 2008.

Of particular concern to the report's authors was the resounding failure to prosecute traffickers. The report says: “The government did not convict or sentence any officials complicit in trafficking in Cyprus, which observers allege continued to be a significant problem.”

During the reporting period, the government investigated 29 suspected cases of trafficking, an increase from 17 suspected trafficking cases in 2009. Although there were 41 ongoing trafficking prosecutions at the end of 2009, the government secured convictions in only three cases, convicting three trafficking offenders in 2010 and one in 2011.

“Punishments for these offenders were woefully inadequate: one offender was sentenced to six months' imprisonment with the suspension of an additional three years' imprisonment, one was convicted to 12 months in prison, and the two others each received a nine-month sentence.”

The report also highlighted the government's ‘slow' implementation of its National Action Plan (NAP) to tackle trafficking, which began in April 2010 and the ineffectual replacement of the “artiste” visa:

“Implementation of the (NAP) was slow. The government made few improvements in the protection of victims; it did not ensure procedures for the safe repatriation of foreign victims. The artiste visa that was of grave concern in previous reporting periods was replaced with other visa or work permit categories which traffickers have managed to exploit.”

Added to the list of failures, the report also notes the government has yet to implement a campaign to address demand for prostitutes and educate clients about the realities of forced prostitution.

The report makes several recommendations, including taking greater measures to prosecute, convict and sentence trafficking offenders.

It encourages punishments commensurate with those imposed on other serious criminal offenders, and to aggressively prosecute and seek convictions of any officials complicit in trafficking.

The report also suggests implementing guidelines for all front-line responders, outlining identification, referral and protection procedures for potential trafficking victims.

Victims should also be offered legal alternatives to deportation and the government should proactively implement the National Action Plan on trafficking.

Meanwhile, in the north, the report noted: “Turkish Cypriot authorities continue to deny that trafficking is a significant problem, posing a serious challenge to assuring any protection for women from trafficking or the prosecution of their traffickers.”

Local observers continued to report a significant trafficking problem with foreign women being deprived of their freedom in nightclubs. Nonetheless, Turkish Cypriot authorities identified no trafficking victims during the reporting period.

The report is available at


AAP Statement Against Child Sexual Abuse by Health Providers

by Laurie Barclay, MD

June 28, 2011 — The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) prohibits child sexual abuse or exploitation by healthcare providers and offers recommendations to prevent such abuse, according to a policy statement reported online June 27 in Pediatrics.

"Sexual abuse or exploitation of children is never acceptable," write Cindy W. Christian, MD, and colleagues from the Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect, 2010-2011. "Such behavior by health care providers is particularly concerning because of the trust that children and their families place on adults in the health care profession. The [AAP] strongly endorses the social and moral prohibition against sexual abuse or exploitation of children by health care providers."

AAP Recommendations

Specific AAP recommendations for healthcare providers to protect, to promote health and well-being, and to earn and maintain the trust of their patients include the following:

  1. Because pediatricians must protect and foster their patients' health, sexual encounters with patients are destructive and are strictly forbidden.

  2. Pediatricians and healthcare providers should be advised that most sexual offenses against children are committed by adults with a primary sexual orientation toward other adults. However, risk for premeditated and multiple-victim child offenses is greater in adults with a primary sexual attraction to children. Sexual offenses are committed by heterosexuals and by homosexuals. Any sexual abuse of children by medical providers "is a profound betrayal of their responsibility for patient well-being, trust, and medical ethics."

  3. Medical trainees should be educated regarding appropriate provider–patient boundaries and appropriate use of chaperones during examinations and procedures.

  4. By checking formal state registries and contacting previous employers, medical facilities for children should screen potential employees for previous abuse of a child.

  5. Pediatricians should be trained regarding the indications for and techniques of the genital examination. During annual checkups, routine genital examinations should be performed. Assessment of other specific medical concerns may also be an indication for conducting a genital examination.

  6. Pediatricians must explain to parents and to children who can speak and understand why each part of the examination is being performed. Pediatricians must drape the patient appropriately and allow privacy while changing to ensure that the child's need for modesty is respected. Chaperones should be offered and provided whenever requested by the child and/or parent, when required by standard practice and local regulations, and whenever a chaperone is needed according to the provider's judgment.

  7. Medical facilities for children should implement policies and procedures to train employees of medical facilities for children regarding staff–patient boundaries, use of chaperones, and their duty to immediately report concerns of patient abuse by other staff members.

  8. Parents should be informed of their right to request a chaperone during examination of their child and to report any concerns they may have regarding sexually inappropriate examinations or provider actions. These concerns should be reported to the clinic's or medical facility's administration, or to their state's protective service for investigation, if warranted by their concerns.

  9. All healthcare providers and institutions are legally mandated to report reasonable suspicions of child abuse by another healthcare provider to protective services and/or the police.

    1. Institutions should have implemented policies and procedures to document and assess reported concerns for patient abuse.

    2. Complaints about employees should be handled confidentially, sensitively, and expeditiously. During the investigation, the accused should be provided with independent, confidential support and counseling services.

    3. Individuals and institutions are required to follow legal guidelines for reporting suspected child abuse to the responsible institutional, local, and state authorities.

    4. Individuals and institutions need to cooperate with protective, legal, and licensing agencies responsible for investigating reports of suspected sexual abuse by medical providers.

    5. Because protection of patients from future abuse remains the responsibility of institutions, they should not facilitate transfer of problem providers without notifying other institutions or communities that could potentially be at risk.

  10. Institutions should help victims of sexual abuse by staff to receive appropriate evaluation and counseling as needed.

Sexual abuse in childhood is linked to increased risk for emotional, behavioral, cognitive, social, and general health impairments, including internalizing and externalizing psychiatric disorders, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, conduct/antisocial personality disorder, suicidal ideation and attempts, poor self-esteem, posttraumatic stress disorder, sexually inappropriate behaviors, eating disorders, delinquency, and general behavioral disorders. Adults who were victims of childhood sexual abuse continue to be at increased risk for these psychological disorders.

"When children are abused by those who are entrusted with their medical care, the profession has the responsibility to take the necessary actions to protect future patients from harm by those providers," the authors conclude. "These actions include helping families affected by abuse by ensuring proper emotional support. Pediatricians should also work with government agencies and licensing bodies to ensure that in the future children are protected from pediatricians and other health care providers who sexually abuse patients."

Pediatrics . Published online June 27, 2011. Full text



Man relieved after telling story of sexual abuse

Make sure children get help

Thank you so much for shining a light on Martin Santos and child sexual abuse [“Painful story gives Des Moines man a path to healing,” page one, June 28].

The majority of the time, the perpetrator is known to the child — more than 90 percent of the time. They can be an acquaintance, close friend, neighbor, family member, teacher or coach.

It is also important to know that children false report only 2 percent of the time — they hardly ever lie. It is very important they get the help they need as soon as possible. Children can and do recover, and go on to lead healthy and happy lives.

The Children's Response Center in Bellevue is a program of Harborview/University of Washington Medicine and has been in existence for more than 25 years. We serve north and east King County, and provide therapy, legal and medical advocacy for children who've been victims of child sexual abuse and other traumatic events.

Children cannot protect themselves, and it's up to us, as a community, to make sure children get help when they need it. The Children's Response Center does just this — it helps children.

Anyone living in north or east King County who suspects their child has been sexually abused should call as soon as possible. The phone number is 425-688-5130 .

— Amy Lang, Children's Response Center, Education and Awareness chair, Seattle



Educate parents to prevent abuse: coroner

by Daniel Fogarty

Governments should actively prevent child abuse by going into people's homes to educate them about being parents, a Victorian coroner says.

Preventing child abuse should be made a major focus of government resources, Coroner John Olle told an inquest into the death of a two-year-old girl who was bashed to death in her home.

Mr Olle said there was often a generational cycle of physical abuse that stemmed from drug and alcohol abuse and a lack of discipline by parents.

"Why shouldn't it always be a focus of government to say: 'This is a glaringly obvious area where we should direct resources'," he said on Tuesday.

"Don't they get it?

"The government has got to stand up ... if they are serious about child abuse and child deaths and have got to get people in homes and educate.

"One lesson we can really learn from this tragedy is, let's shift our mindset and get in early."

His comments came during the evidence of a child support services worker and Department of Human Services (DHS) staff at the inquest into the death of the girl, known as Hayley, who was bashed in July 2009.

She died in the Royal Children's Hospital about a month later.

Her father, identified as Robert, was charged with intentionally causing serious injury to her and killed himself a few days after he was charged.

Robert's girlfriend and her brother, who were at the home when the bashing took place, have been excused from giving evidence at the inquest on the grounds of potential self-incrimination.

Mr Olle asked DHS local area manager Melissa McInerney whether she found bureaucrats did not understand the amount of resources that needed to be put into the area.

Ms McInerney told the inquest she had seen a draft paper that proposed the organisation work with vulnerable families to provide services from before a child is born until they turn five years of age.

The inquest also heard on Tuesday that local child support workers and staff from the DHS staff had visited the family in the weeks leading up to the death, but they found the risk threshold had not been reached.

The DHS worker described Hayley as: "A sweet little doll, smiling."

"When I was sitting in the loungeroom there was no evidence that that little girl was being abused," the DHS worker said.

"I would not turn a blind eye to any evidence that there was child abuse."

The inquest continues on Thursday.


Today's Hidden Slave Trade

Modern human slavery isn't just about sex trafficking—up to 27 million people are forced into labor in the global economy, from tomatoes to electronics to American military contracting in places like Iraq. Michelle Goldberg on our underreported slave trade.

June 28, 2011

When Americans think about human trafficking, they tend to think about sexual slavery. The very real stories of girls sold to brothels or tricked into prostitution by gangsters are great fodder for journalists. They attract the kind of celebrity commitment that puts causes on the map—see, for example, last week's Demi Moore - hosted CNN special about sex slaves in Nepal.

The issue certainly deserves our attention—indeed, its horrors can scarcely be overstated. But as the State Department's 2011 Trafficking in Persons report makes clear, sexual bondage is only a part of a much larger and more insidious evil. Modern slavery isn't just about sex. Huge parts of the global economy, from tomatoes to electronics to American military contracting, are tied up with forced labor.

“Many people who work on this, work on this because sex trafficking awoke them to action,” says Luis CdeBaca, director of the State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. But in fighting slavery, he says, “getting to a place where we are looking at domestic servitude, agriculture and factories as well as prostitution is the natural next step.”

Releasing the annual trafficking report on Monday, Hillary Clinton pointed out that as many as 27 million men, women, and children worldwide are victims of modern-day slavery. The report doesn't contain a breakdown of various types of trafficking, but CdeBaca says labor trafficking is the most prevalent type. “The dusty images of slaves working on plantations line bookshelves and museum walls, but the demand for cheap goods in a globalized economy sustains slavery today in fields and farms,” the report says.

It contains harrowing stories of sex slaves, but also of people forced into labor in mines, on fishing boats, and in private homes. One Middle Eastern woman named Amita was kept by a family in London who forced her to work in their house from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, then hired her out to clean office buildings all night.

In the past, says CdeBaca, some feminists and religious conservatives have resisted attempts to talk about forced labor and sex trafficking as part of the same broader issue. “There were those who said that by focusing on both sex trafficking and labor trafficking, that somehow we were [treating] prostitution as a valid form of labor,” he says. Some felt that “if you care about women you should do stuff on sex trafficking—labor trafficking is a distraction.” But labor trafficking, besides being a gross human rights violation, is also a feminist issue. Seventy percent of guest workers from Indonesia, for example, are female. “Women are the majority of farmers in the world,” CdeBaca points out. “That means that many of the people who are enslaved in the fields, even in the U.S., are women.”

In June, The New Yorker ran a harrowing story about trafficking victims lured to Iraq under false pretenses to work for American military contractors. Among the victims were women from Fiji who thought they were going to lucrative salon jobs in Dubai but ended up “unwitting recruits for the Pentagon's invisible army: more than seventy thousand cooks, cleaners, construction workers, fast-food clerks, electricians, and beauticians from the world's poorest countries who service U.S. military logistics contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan,” as Sarah Stillman wrote.

Stillman's shocking expose didn't get nearly the attention it deserved, which is perhaps not a surprise, because labor trafficking rarely does. “[S]uccessful prosecutions of sex-trafficking offenses far outnumber successful forced labor prosecutions,” the State Department report says. “Unlike sex trafficking, labor-trafficking crimes are often committed by persons perceived as respected members of society or accomplished business leaders, who are less likely to be investigated than unsavory characters involved in organized crime or living unlawfully off the proceeds of the commercial sex trade.”

Decent people do not participate in the buying and selling of sexually enslaved people. But most of us, no matter how well-meaning, contribute to the broader economy of trafficking. “Most of what's in our medicine chests has palm oil, which comes from eastern Cambodia or Sumatra or other places where we know there's a lot of folks enslaved on those plantations,” says CdeBaca. “There's an awful lot of slavery on the fishing fleets of Southeast Asia, and a lot of the shrimp that we eat in the United States comes from there.” He points to my iPhone, which is sitting on the table recording our conversation. It, like all smartphones, relies on a mineral called coltan, much of which is mined by forced laborers in the Democratic Republic of Congo. “The likelihood that one of these was not touched by a slave is pretty low,” he says. “So that does make us responsible.”



Come on guys, turn off the hormones and help these little girls!

by Odil Macias

David Grant, founder of Project Rescue, an organization to help unfortunate prostitutes in India, came to speak to the Greeley community about his ministry and how locals from small communities can help these women. David Grant was at New Hope Christian Fellowship on Sunday, June 26th, speaking to our community about the devastating lives of trafficked women and girls.

Grant gave a very emotional speech with several testimonies of women and girls who work as prostitutes in the red light districts of India. Those women have been receiving help from Project Rescue's shelters to attain physical, emotional and spiritual help. Grant gave out many copies of his written book Beyond the Soiled Curtain . His book goes into detail on the trials that many women face around the world as they are kidnapped, lied and forced to prostitution. The book educates the readers on the global issue of human trafficking and how it affects us personally. The book estimated that about 2 million children are exploited in the global commercial sex trade each year. Those children grow up in a life that you and I will never know. They endure slavery, rape, and emotional heartbreak while more fortunate individuals at times live as if only their self existed. David Grant's foundation has a website where people can search and see more of Project Rescue's work and accomplishments. They help a variety of children who are suffering the deadly AIDS epidemic as well as children who are born in brothels and mothers want a better future for them.

Project Rescue shelters help their refugees through the arts, such as dance, singing and writing. They teach women how to work in crafts such as sowing and painting. These prostituted women live day by day in brothels and are only permitted to go the Project Rescue shelters once a week for an hour. They wish they were free to live a clean life because no woman becomes a prostitute by choice. For more information on Project Rescue visit their website



El Segundo police seek victims of man who allegedly exposed himself to females

El Segundo police Tuesday were seeking possible victims of a 35-year-old man who allegedly exposed himself in front of two teenage girls and a woman in separate incidents.

Luis A. Godoy was being followed by officers Monday after the El Segundo Police Department received information from the victims. Officers cited Godoy for driving without a license and took statements from him indicating that he was involved in at least two indecent-exposure incidents and possibly more, Lt. Raymond Garcia said.

"This a dangerous cat," Garcia told The Times. "We think he's done more serious things."

In the first case, on April 28, Godoy used his Honda Odyssey to block the path of two 13-year-old girls who were walking in the 800 block of Main Street and allegedly exposed himself, police said.

On May 30, Godoy allegedly stopped his Honda in front of a 40-year-old woman at a bus stop in the 900 block of Main Street and exposed himself, according to police. The license plate on Godoy's silver Honda is 4VYM749.

Garcia said police are seeking additional victims to present a strong case to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

Anyone with information is asked to call Det. Erik Atkinson at (310) 524-2216 .


United Kingdom

Child sex survey finds 26% of abusers Asian, but warns data 'poor quality'

Ceop director warns against jumping to wrong conclusions as findings did not support claims of Asian grooming gangs

The first attempt at a nationwide assessment of patterns of child sexual exploitation reveals that 26% of those who engage in on-street grooming of young girls are Asian. But Peter Davies, the director of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre (Ceop), which carried out the research warned against jumping to any conclusions from the findings on the ethnicity of offenders because the data gathered by his investigators was incomplete, not nationwide and of poor quality.

"I would send a note of caution about trying to extrapolate anything from this. Looking at this issue through the lens of ethnicity does not do the victims any favours," he said.

The figures (pdf) which published on Wednesday, after a six-month thematic assessment involving talking to police, social services and charities revealed that of the 2,379 offenders identified by the research, ethnicity had not been recorded in 32% of cases. The data also showed 38% of offenders were white and a small number were black or Chinese.

The Ceop assessment was commissioned after national debate over what some people had identified as a pattern of Asian men operating in gangs to groom young white girls and sexually abuse them. Davies said the findings did not support this suggestion.

He initiated the assessment to identify any patterns of offending and victimisation to improve responses.

What has emerged is that not enough is being done by the police, by social services and particularly by local children's safeguarding boards to identify and investigate child sexual exploitation that goes on in local areas.

"The key message for me is that this is a horrific crime and involves the systematic, premeditated rape of children. It needs to be understood, it needs to be brought out of the dark. There should be no hiding place anywhere for people who take part in this kind of crime," he said.

Davies said he was "surprised and disappointed" that two thirds of local safeguarding children's boards were failing to do their statutory duty on child sexual exploitation.

He said they were required to assume that child sexual exploitation was going on in their area unless there was clear evidence otherwise. Only one third was doing this.

Key findings of the research were that:

• most local children's safeguarding boards are failing to fulfil their statutory responsibility to identify child sexual exploitation and protect children.

• the size and scale of the crime is not known.

• police forces across the country need to go out and look for the crime.

• there are strong links between runaway children and victims of child sexual exploitation.

• the Crown Prosecution Service should carry out a review of all prosecutions in the area to identify barriers to bringing perpetrators to justice.

• more research was needed to provide a more comprehensive picture.

From the data, Ceop was able to say 2,379 offenders were identified between March 2008 and January 2011. There were 2,083 victims, 90% of whom were white girls, with strong links between children going missing from homes and the care system and becoming victims. Offenders were predominantly males aged between 18 - 24 who acted alone or in groups.

Investigators from Ceop spent six months gathering intelligence and data from police forces across the country, social services, health authorities and charities working with victims in an attempt to quantify the scale of the problem.

Enver Solomon, head of policy at the Children's Society, which provided evidence to Ceop, said if patterns of perpetrators had emerged there needed to be further research but he warned against jumping to any conclusions.

"This [ethnicity of perpetrators] is obviously disproportionate to the population, but the problem here is that the data is incomplete and poorly recorded so there are questions about the validity and accuracy of the data.

"We need to be cautious about drawing conclusions but if patterns are beginning to be identified we need to begin to understand them more, with more research so we can draw evidence-based conclusions rather than jump to any assumptions."

Solomon said the figures represented "a scratching at the surface" of what was the hidden problem of vulnerable children being targeted, groomed, internally trafficked and subjected to extreme forms of sexual abuse and violence on British streets.

The report identifies a strong link between children who run away, both from the family home and the care system, and those who are victims of men who target them on the streets, outside local takeaways, and at obvious local gathering points for young people, to groom and abuse them.

The Ceop report, titled Out of Mind, Out of Sight, found that in 1,087 cases agencies had failed to identify the background of the child victim. In many cases no one bothered to record the gender of the victims. Last year alone, charities across the sector dealt with 2,900 children who had been sexually exploited, according to figures released a fortnight ago by x.

In 2010 alone, Barnado's worked with 1,098 children who had been sexually exploited; a 4% increase on the year before.

The new head of Ceop commissioned the assessment after a string of cases in the north of England that appeared to suggest a pattern of Asian men as perpetrators of on-street grooming of white girls.

After two ring leaders of a group of Asian men were jailed in January, Ceop announced it was carrying out a review. Mohammed Liaqat, 28 and Abid Saddique, 27, were convicted of raping and sexually abusing young girls aged between 12 and 18 from the Derby area.

The case led to claims that a pattern had emerged in which Asian men appeared to be disproportionately the perpetrators of child sexual exploitation and that their victims were white girls.

In response, Davies said he needed to examine whether any patterns of offending, victimisation and vulnerability could be identified.


Ruling opens door to revisit sex-abuse case

A man who alleges he was sexually abused by a Catholic priest in the 1980s, but didn't remember until 20 years later, should be able to go back to court and have experts testify about repressed memories, a three-judge panel of the Minnesota Court of Appeals said Monday.

The case brought in 2006 by Jim Keenan, 44, against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona was dismissed last October after Ramsey County District Judge Gregg Johnson ruled he hadn't met the standard that would allow an expert to testify about repressed memories. Without the expert testimony, Keenan couldn't show why the six-year statute of limitations shouldn't apply.

Nick Cafardi, professor of law at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, said the ruling is significant because it could open the door for older cases in which the statute of limitations has passed.

"It's a door that's open now that wasn't open before, which potentially has the effect of increasing the number of cases that can be brought now against dioceses in Minnesota" or other entities, Cafardi said.

Archdiocese spokesman Dennis McGrath issued a statement saying it was disappointed the appeals court reversed the decision. The archdiocese has 30 days to appeal to the state Supreme Court.

"[The] ruling demonstrates that these issues are both complex and unique, and we will continue to try and resolve the matter without the necessity of a trial," the statement said.

Michael Finnegan, one of Keenan's attorneys, said the decision will give sexual abuse survivors who have repressed memories "a better opportunity to have the jury hear about how that happens to a child."

"In Minnesota, for decades, institutions including the Archdiocese of St. Paul and the Diocese of Winona have hid behind the statute of limitations and used that to keep survivors from getting justice," Finnegan said. "This decision allows this courageous survivor, James Keenan, to go forward with his claims and hopefully expose the names of all the offenders."

Keenan, of Savage, went public with his identity last December after the archdiocese asked the court to make him pay $64,000 in legal expenses, a request later withdrawn. In his suit, Keenan said he was abused by former priest Thomas Adamson while he was serving at Church of the Risen Savior in Burnsville. Keenan also said church officials knew of other abuse complaints against Adamson.

Jeff Anderson, whose law firm represents Keenan, obtained an archdiocesan list of 33 priests accused of sexual abuse involving minors. The Diocese of Winona has a similar list with 13 alleged abusers. Anderson has pressed to make both lists public, but has been barred by court order. Now that Keenan's case is moving forward, Finnegan hopes the lists will be made public during trial.

Twin Cities archdiocese officials have argued releasing the names could subject an innocent person to false accusations.

Reaction to sex abuse

The unanimous appeals court ruling says child sex abuse cases shouldn't be held to a higher standard when it comes to the admissibility of expert testimony about why such victims may not be able to remember traumatic events. The decision pointed to a recent state Supreme Court ruling that said experts should be allowed to explain why adult sex assault victims might not report crimes immediately or behave in other ways that might be confusing to a jury.

In this case, the appeals court decision said expert testimony may help the jury understand the difference between repressed memory and forgetting.

"The reaction of a child to sexual abuse, under the circumstances alleged in this case, may be outside the common understanding of an average juror," the decision said.

David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said in a statement that juries should hear about how victims deal with their trauma.

"We firmly believe that juries should hear from both victims and experts and that bishops should not be able to get abuse and cover-up cases tossed out of court easily -- using all kinds of legal technicalities, like the statutes of limitations," Clohessy's statement said.

Keenan's claim that the archdiocese and diocese failed to disclose that Adamson had a history of sexual abuse will also be allowed to go forward, the appeals court said. Those two fraud claims were dismissed by the district court because of the statute of limitations, but the appeals court reversed that decision.

"If, indeed, appellant did not become aware that he had been abused until 2001 or 2002, he could not have known that he had a viable fraud claim until then," the decision said.



Child sexual abuse: Painful story, but little healing

Healing proves elusive for a young man who says he was sexually abused for years by relatives. Still, he says he feels stronger for having told.

by Sonia Krishnan

The memories come without warning, darting through Martin Santos' head.

He is under a bridge, in a park with two older boys.

Shut up and take off your clothes, they say. Don't make any noise.

Santos was 6 then. Now he is 21. An adult, a man. He could use a gun. No — a baseball bat. He could find these two relatives, make his pain theirs.

But the fantasy leaves him cold. Because their pain is not enough. And what he wants is gone for good.

He wants to reach back in time and warn the 6-year-old on the trail of Des Moines Creek Park to run. That boy was on a bike ride . He thought they'd all stopped to skip stones in the creek. Instead, that boy died.

In his place lives Santos. A sports fanatic who connects the dates of when he says he was raped to which baseball movie came out that year; a fledgling public speaker from Des Moines who has talked to crowds about the sexual abuse he says he endured for seven years; a survivor, not a victim, who insists he feels stronger each time he hears himself tell his story aloud.

But there was a price.

He told his family and watched it rupture. He told police and was called to testify against his relatives in court.

They said they were innocent.

Now, almost four years after a jury's verdict, and too many holidays and family gatherings split between those who believe him and those who never did, Santos sometimes wonders if he should have stayed silent.

Maybe life would have been simpler if only he'd kept his secrets locked up tight.


Santos winds through his old neighborhood in Des Moines, passing the low-slung homes, overgrown yards and gravel driveways.

Through a rain-spattered windshield, he sees the 1950s rambler where, as a high-school sophomore in 2006, he sat down to write an English paper about a moment that changed his life.

The assignment was an experiment with memoir. Santos dashed off a first-person essay on his love of baseball. But the day before the paper was due, something pulled him back to the computer. He typed until 2 a.m. His body shook.

"Over the span of seven years, I was terrorized," he wrote. "Over seven years, I walked through hell and back." He titled it "Say Something" and went to bed.

After his English teacher read the essay, then his extended family, he was relieved the secret was out.

But something else weighed on him. Two other family members had told him that they, too, had been molested by the same relatives, who were now adults.

Santos was done being quiet. He wanted these men in prison.


Child sexual abuse is one of society's most underreported crimes. While the stigma has diminished compared to a generation ago, secrecy and shame still envelop it — especially when it happens in families. And that, researchers say, makes accurate data notoriously tough to collect.

The numbers that are available reveal a lot.

Of 329 sexual-assault cases filed last year in King County, more than half of the defendants were related to their accusers, according to the county prosecutor's office.

Defendants often plead out before trial, accepting punishment for a lesser crime. Or victims decide not to follow through.

Prosecutors say these allegations are some of the toughest to prove. More often than not, there is zero physical evidence. Memories are clouded by time. It often comes down to one person's word against another's.

Julie Kays sees this play out every day.

Inside her fifth-floor office at the King County Courthouse, the senior deputy prosecutor for Seattle's Special Assault Unit listens to girls, boys, men and women confide stories of sexual abuse "beyond most people's imagination."

Kays has tried more than 60 sex-abuse cases, the vast majority involving children. And 90 percent of the time, she said, victims come forward months or years later.

Children think people won't believe them; they agonize over ripping their families apart.

"I can't tell you the number of times I've had kids on the witness stand say, 'I love my dad.' And Dad is sitting in the defendant's chair," Kays said.

It's her job to look for big and small ways to corroborate a victim's account, she said.

She approaches former teachers, who may be able to speak about a student's behavioral changes in school. She searches for photos of the child from when the alleged abuse occurred. She asks family and friends to talk about the defendant's access to the child.

The victim's testimony also can have tremendous sway, Kays said.

Verdicts are impossible to predict, which is why she tells victims this: Your healing must not depend on the outcome of the case. Because it's not a matter of whether we believe you.

It's what can be proven in court.


"The next witness is Martin Santos."

It is Aug. 13, 2007, and Santos walks to the witness stand in track pants and a basketball sweatshirt, hands tucked in his pockets. He is 17 and on summer break from Mount Rainier High School.

This is the second time the case has gone to trial.

Months earlier in a King County courtroom, a jury acquitted the two men on three of the eight child-rape and molestation charges involving Santos and the other two family members. A mistrial was declared on five remaining counts, so the case is back in court.

The prosecutor begins.

She asks Santos basic questions, about school, his favorite classes, family.

Then: Tell the court what happened when you were 6 by the bridge at Des Moines Creek Park.

Santos looks down.

"I was told to do something," Santos says. "Something I'd never done before. Something I didn't know anything about."

"Did you know what to do?"

"I didn't know what to do at all. I didn't even know what it meant. ... "

"Did you talk about it to anybody?"


She asks about the essay he wrote. What happened after you turned it in?

A school counselor talked to him, Santos says. Then Child Protective Services. When he learned police were getting involved, Santos says, he had to tell his family.

He called an uncle, who helped translate the essay into Spanish so the rest of the family could understand it. The uncle, at Santos' request, gathered a dozen relatives at Santos' house to read it aloud the next evening.

Santos stayed in his bedroom, but he remembers hearing every word and every sound, from the thumps in his chest to his mother and aunts sobbing.

"I wanted my family to hear it from me," he tells the court. "I did it because it was my family. And it was my responsibility to say something."

The defense attorney raises discrepancies in Santos' story. He asks about conflicting statements Santos made to authorities initially about which relative abused him at the creek.

"And you didn't correct that for about a year, is that correct?"

"I believe so."

The defense challenges Santos to match allegations of abuse at his house and other places to specific times.

"You asked me if I could remember a day, a time, a month or a year," Santos finally says. "I can't."

"Do you have a hard time remembering dates or times?"


The next day, the defendants take the stand. The prosecutor asks one about the alleged sexual contact, which he says didn't happen.

"I like girls," he says.

The defense attorney questions the other man about inappropriately touching Santos.

"Did that happen?" the attorney asks.

"No," he replies. "It did not."

After deliberating for two hours, the jury returns: not guilty on all counts.


Six months after the trial, Santos was asked to share his story in a four-minute video for the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center, where he had received counseling and help throughout the court process. The clip was filmed in Des Moines Creek Park and shown to 900 people at an annual fundraiser.

Afterward, a woman approached Santos in tears. I was raped, too, she said. I've never told anyone outside my family.

He hurt for this woman, a stranger, yet he felt joy. This is what it meant to affect one person with his story. How many more could he reach?

Later that year, Santos organized a walk at the park to raise awareness about sexual assault, with the support of his parents and other family members.

"Talking is how Martin ... finds healing," said his father, Mike Holte.

Santos named the walk "Say Something."

He knows those two words come at a cost. There are people in his family who wish he'd never gone to court, never told his story, and who never forgave him for doing both.

Now it's time to move forward. After graduating from high school three years ago, Santos set his sights on becoming an emergency-medical technician with an ambulance company. This spring, it happened.

The job is his way of connecting.

"You get to be part of someone's life in that deep, dark moment," he says. "So many people think they are alone. Sure, everyone's situation is different. But in so many ways, it's all the same. ... We all walk around with missing pieces."

He starts to talk about a dream.

In it, the relatives come to him. "I'm sorry," they say. And just like that, life is bright and good, and the emptiness he felt is suddenly replaced with a fullness he's only imagined.

Except he hasn't talked to the men in years.

Finding help

For information or help about child sexual abuse ..

King County Sexual Assault Resource Center:
Crisis Line: 888-99-VOICE ( 888-998-6423 )
Office: 425-226-5062

Providence Intervention Center for Assault and Abuse (Snohomish County):
Crisis Line: 425-252-4800
Office: 425-297-5785



Child abuse content blocking is for 'curious individuals': IIA

IIA chief, Peter Coroneos, said the project is not attempting to address hardened offenders but is taking the first step in reducing the availability of such content online

by Chloe Herrick

The voluntary blocking of online child abuse material being implemented by ISPs Telstra and Optus is not attempting to address hardened offenders but instead looking to limit the availability of material to “curious individuals”, according to the Internet Industry Association (IIA).

IIA chief executive, Peter Coroneos, told Computerworld Australia the move to block child pornography sites, based on a blocklist compiled by Interpol, is more about aligning Australia with European countries including Denmark, France, Sweden and Norway, and taking the first step toward reducing the availability of such content online.

“A large part of the thinking is that if we can work with the ISPs to limit the availability of this material on the public internet, which is about as much as we can do it at the moment,” Coroneos said. “It's a step in the direction of diminishing the exposure of perhaps curious individuals that may not yet be paedophiles that don't have the resources that hardened offenders do.”

“If you're part of a hardened paedophile network you're probably not going to be using the open internet to access content. You're going to be using much more difficult-to-track means, so we're not really attempting at this stage to address that.”

He stresses the project is not censorship or filtering, but rather the blocking of illegal images as notified by Interpol.

“We're not talking about all forms of offensive content on the net which can vary according to culture and values — we're talking about a very specific subset of content that again most countries in the world have already passed laws to criminalise.”

A Telstra spokesperson told Computerworld Australia the blocking would occur across its entire network and is implemented by programming the telco's domain name servers to redirect internet users to a ‘stop page' should they request a restricted site.

“Other than blocking access to these specific sites, the technology does not inspect data traffic or filter the content of browsers sessions in any way,” the spokesperson said.

“We believe the telecommunications industry has a responsibility to limit the distribution of content containing child sexual abuse material.”

With Optus and Telstra committed to the initiative, and the latter implementing the Interpol list from 30 June, Coroneos is optimistic that once the code of conduct [1] is released, smaller ISPs will join the fold.

“I can't think of why not if it's not an expensive exercise for the ISPs — if it's clear that it's just child pornography and something that the user base will support. I can't imagine that ISPs could really mount much of a credible argument as to why they shouldn't do it.”

According to Coroneos, traditional concerns for smaller ISPs, including who makes the determination around the blocked content and the cost, should not apply as it can be done with existing infrastructure and it is clear that Interpol is supplying the list, which encompasses a narrow range of serious content.

“It's been constructed in such a way that we are not dictating the form in which the technical blocking occurs and in most cases we believe it can be done using existing equipment,” he said.

“It's more a question of Interpol providing them with the relevant list of sites to be blocked and then they would implement that as part of their normal routing.”

Exetel chief executive, John Linton, said the ISP would have no reason not to participate in the scheme and would do so if requested but does not have the means to do so alone.

“We don't have the resources to determine what sites should be banned so we would do nothing via our own initiative,” he said. “Like any right thinking people we abhor the whole concept of child abuse.”

Commenting on the initiative, Internode managing director, Simon Hackett, said the ISP would not be participating in the program but would be watching the outcome “with interest”.



Suffering the ignominy in silence

by Saleh Al Shaibany

June 28, 2011


MUSCAT: Parents of sexually abused children suffer in silence as they are reluctant to report the crime to the police for fear of bringing shame to the family.

In many cases, parents take the law in their hands by punishing the person who has molested their children, but never admit to the police the reasons for their violent action.

Times of Oman met a 27-year-old mother of two children, who was sexually abused when she was nine. She now recalls that her father, in a fit of rage, cut off four fingers of the man responsible of the crime, instead of reporting the incident to the police.

Her father spent three years in prison but never told anyone outside his family why he used his farm's machete to slice off his best friend's fingers.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, she said, “My father is still blamed for the ‘crime' because he wouldn't tell the truth to protect my honour.”

The concern of shaming the family prevents many others from reporting the abuse to the police, according to social workers.
“If a young girl is sexually abused, then she would not find a suitor when she reaches a marriageable age. An abused boy would face ridicule from the peers for the rest of his life. Parents, too, don't like to admit that one of their children has been abused,” Khadija Al Mauli, a social worker based in Muscat, said.

A senior nurse working in a major hospital in the country said that sexual abuse most commonly involves children of both sexes between the age of six and 12 years. They are usually committed by close relatives, or friends of the families.

“This age bracket can be intimidated to not talk about it. We receive them at the emergency wards with their private parts severely torn but very few parents would report the case to the police,” Salma Khalifa, a nurse at the Sohar Hospital, said.

Last year in Saham, a 19-year-old youth crushed his cousin to death, whom he accused of sexually abusing his seven-year-old brother, said his close friend, who identified himself as Rashid.
“Some murders that appear to have no motives are inspired by sexual abuse; when a father, an uncle or brother of a very young victim takes the law into their hands,” Rashid said.

His friend, recalled Rashid, stormed out of the house immediately after his brother named the rapist, and in a moment of madness, snatched a car key and drove down the road looking for the cousin.
Rashid's friend, was executed three months later for premeditated murder. Yet, even when he was facing death, he did not divulge the reason why he had killed his cousin.

However, doctors say that sexual abuse injuries are not too many, accounting for about 20 known cases a year, compared to a total of over 60,000 injuries that are treated in local hospitals.
The doctors, however, say that the government must do something prevent and to eradicate the menace of child molesters.

“The Ministry of Social Development must do something about it. I suspect for every one case of known child sexual abuse, there are 50 more that we will never come to know. That means molesters get away scot-free or drag relatives of the victims into it when they seek revenge.

Perhaps, a nationwide campaign from the ministry will change all that,” Dr Fareeda Moosa, a retired surgeon, said.



Incidents Involving Children on the Rise

by Rachel Ousley

June 27, 2011

According to Miles for Kids, a report of child abuse is made every ten seconds. Yet cases involving children are constantly growing. While the solution to child abuse remains unknown, experts say the key is education and community support.

Child abuse is a problem that affects all socioeconomic levels and across all cultural lines. Nationwide almost five children die everyday as a result of child abuse. This is a problem even here in our own backyard.

Lisa Goff, Executive Director of CASA – CAN, says, “Cascade County at this point has the highest number of abuse/neglect cases in one place in Montana”. The situation seems to be only getting worse. Goff explains, “in Cascade County in 2010 cases went up dramatically, but 2011 is outrageous, its gone sky high”.

This month alone there are 21 new cases in Cascade County involving a total of 47 new children. That's on top of the nearly 200 kids already part of Youth in Court. Goff says, “truthfully, I'd like to be out of a job”. She hopes child abuse can be put to an end. She suggests being vigilant and not thinking someone else is going to report a case of child abuse.

It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the well-being of a child. Children are often voiceless and depend on adults to stand up for them. Tips given to the child abuse hotline can be anonymous. Goff says, “as the community and citizens of our community we need to step forward and try our best to advocate for these kids and be there for these kids whether it's before the fact or unfortunately after the fact. These kids are the future, and unless they have a future where are we all going to be down the road”.

Child abuse and neglect can come in a variety of forms. It can be a child witnessing domestic violence or drug abuse. It can also be mental, verbal, or physical abuse. If you have any concerns about a child call the Montana child abuse/neglect hotline 1-866-820-5437 (KIDS).

With the surge in the amount of Youth in Court, CASA-CAN is in desperate need of volunteers. By state law each child needs a guardian at litem. Goff says attorneys may not have as much time as volunteers. To learn more about CASA-CAN call 406-454-6738 .



Failed drug test risky for parents


Starting next month, Florida's social service agency will refer every welfare applicant who fails a drug test to a child abuse hotline.

State officials deny the drug test results may be used to remove children from their parents, but civil rights activists fear it will.

Beginning Friday, anyone applying to the state for temporary cash assistance must pass a drug test to receive benefits. Applicants must pay the test's cost, which will be refunded for those who pass. That expense could exceed $100, according to state documents, for those who need a medical review to confirm the drug detected is one for which they have a legal prescription.

In a June 24 memo, the Department of Children & Families directed staff to refer applicants testing positive for drugs to Florida's child abuse hotline "for review to initiate an assessment or an offer of services."

That means a child protection investigation, said Maria Kayanan, associate legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, which is expected to challenge the constitutionality of the drug-test law.

"The abuse hotline is intended to protect Florida's children from neglect or abuse — not from a positive drug test," Kayanan said. "When you're talking about a search that is unconstitutional to begin with, to then use the result of that search to insert the arm of the state into a family and potentially tear that family apart is unconscionable."

The hotline directive, which appeared nowhere in the drug-test legislation, surfaced in a draft rule earlier this month. At the time, DCF representatives stressed the rule was in preliminary form. A referral to the hotline will probably trigger a visit to the applicant's home, but not necessarily by a child protection investigator, DCF spokesman Joe Follick said.

Instead, Follick said, it may be a local contractor who connects families with drug-abuse treatment or counseling. "We're going to assess the needs of the family. Our goal is always to keep families together, and give them the tools to stay together."

If the DCF finds that children are in immediate danger, it will remove them, he said. But "this is not intended to be, nor will it be, a mechanism for children to be removed only because of a positive drug test."


Opinion: N.J. child abuse report terminology may mean life-or-death difference

by Jesse L. Moskowitz

It has been said that those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it. The purpose and intention of bill S1570 is to clarify and correct New Jersey law and its implementation by the Department of Children and Families. Sadly, recent history has shown us that child protection professionals' possible misunderstanding of the use of the term “unfounded” in child abuse investigative reports may have resulted in failure to protect some abused and neglected children from continued risk of maltreatment and even death.

In the 1970s, state law established a Central Registry for all allegations of child abuse and neglect. Records of investigative findings were required to be kept in perpetuity, regardless of whether the allegation was substantiated.

Many persons against whom allegations were found to be erroneous, false or even malicious were concerned that these “forever” records might negatively affect them in some way in the future. To address that concern, and because the Central Registry had begun to be used as a background check not only for foster and adoptive applicants, but for others employed in child care, the term “unfounded” came into use. The term was to be used only in those cases where, as a result of a child abuse or neglect investigation, there was absolute certainty that there was no negligence or fault on the part of the caretaker involved.

In the 1990s, as external use of the Central Registry increased, the term “unfounded” was added to state statute to permit the expunction of records where the investigative result was unfounded. For purposes of that law, “unfounded” meant there is “no concern on the part of [DYFS] that the safety or welfare of the child is at risk.” Regulations further defined “unfounded“ as a determination to be used when no evidence is found that the child in question was harmed, or there was no evidence that a parent or caretaker was involved in the harm, or that any intervention on the part of the parent or caretaker was necessary, and any harm to the child was the result of an accident.

Then, in 2004, as part of a 144-page reform bill, the guiding statutory definition “no concern ... that the safety or welfare of the child is at risk” was removed, and it was left to the department to define “unfounded,” which it did much more broadly. It is doubtful the intention was to allow for the expunction of a broader category of cases. “Unfounded” now ranged, by regulation, from findings of “no concern” to findings where there was not a “preponderance of evidence” to substantiate the allegation (up to 49.9 percent sure). But it has been stated by parties to a federal lawsuit that they wanted New Jersey to eliminate the category of “not substantiated.” They believed this would encourage investigators who were on the fence in making a finding to “substantiate” more cases, rather than use that intermediary finding. Investigators are now left with only the misleading alternative finding of “unfounded.”

As DCF statistics through 2009 show, if anything, the change had an opposite effect. The substantiation rate has dropped each year since, to a low that is now only half the national average of all other states.

The former Office of the Child Advocate reported, with regard to non-parental caretaker institutional abuse investigation findings, that some investigators intentionally and wrongly made a determination of “unfounded” due to their concerns for the perpetrators' future employment. In a report presented in federal court June 13, court-appointed federal lawsuit monitor Judith Meltzer stated that investigators may now issue a finding of “unfounded —with concerns” when some corrective action and monitoring is required; since “not substantiated” was no longer available, the investigators were left with what is plainly an oxymoron. Even the head of Advocates for Children of New Jersey was quoted in news reports as saying, “To me, ‘unfounded' means nothing happened.”

If the intention of the 2004-2005 changes truly was to promote accurate investigative findings, then the law must be amended to provide the three distinct, accurate and understandable possible investigation determinations: the evidence proves harm or substantial risk of harm constituting child abuse or neglect (“substantiated”); the evidence indicates some harm or risk of harm but is insufficient to prove child abuse or neglect (“not substantiated”); and there is no evidence of child abuse or neglect and no risk to the safety or welfare of the child (“unfounded”).

Regarding past records of findings of “unfounded,” because it is not clear whether those investigations found “no concern whatsoever,” they should all be readily re-coded to “not substantiated.”

This will also have the added effect of promoting a thorough review of the past history of any new allegation received about a previously named child, parent or other caretaker, rather than a possibly cursory assumption that past “unfounded” findings meant nothing happened. If we take these steps, we will be learning from history and better protecting children.

Jesse L. Moskowitz is retired. From 1976 through 1993, he worked as Division of Youth and Family Services in-house counsel and assistant director.


United Kingdom

Act on child abuse suspicions, doctors told

by Michelle Roberts

BBC News

The GMC has had to reinstate David Southall on its medical register Any doctor who suspects child abuse must raise the alarm immediately and tell parents what action they will be taking, new draft guidance says.

Doctors acting reasonably in response to concerns about abuse or neglect will not be subject to censure, it adds.

The General Medical Council is holding a public consultation on the draft.

It follows a successful appeal against the GMC by a paediatrician struck off after accusing a mother of drugging and murdering her 10-year-old son.

The GMC had to reinstate David Southall on its medical register after the appeal court ruled it had failed to give adequate reasons for his striking off in 2007.

The case has now been sent back to the GMC panel for reconsideration.

“Spotting signs of child abuse and neglect is a complex and difficult field, ” says Dr Amanda Thomas Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Speaking about the new guidelines, the GMC's chief executive Niall Dickson said: "We recognise that taking action to protect children from abuse can be challenging and distressing for everyone involved.

"This is a complex area of practice, but we believe this new guidance will provide greater clarity about what doctors need to do to protect children, even if they are uncertain about the risks involved.

"We hope it will also help give doctors confidence to make these extremely difficult decisions."

Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health child protection officer Dr Amanda Thomas said: "Spotting signs of child abuse and neglect is a complex and difficult field.

"This new guidance is fundamental for all medical staff to protect children and young people from harm."

The UK-wide guidance applies to all doctors, not just those working in child protection, and the final version should be published by the end of the year.

It says every doctor, even those working only with adults, should be able to spot signs a child could be at risk at an early stage, for example if a parent misuses drugs or alcohol.

It is hoped cases like that of 17-month-old Peter Connelly, or "Baby P", who died in August 2007 at home in Haringey, north London, after months of abuse can be avoided.


Human trafficking report ranks Israel with 3rd world nations

US State Department annual Trafficking in Persons report paints grim picture of phenomenon, states 'Israel is destination-country for men, women subjected to forced labor, sex trafficking'

The US State Department on Tuesday published its annual Trafficking in Persons report, ranking Israel in the same category as Pakistan and Rwanda. According to the report findings, "The Government of Israel does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking."

The reports states that "Israel is a destination-country for men and women subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Low-skilled workers from Thailand, China, Nepal, the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, and, to a lesser extent, Romania, migrate voluntarily and legally to Israel for temporary contract labor in construction, agriculture, and home health care provision.

"Some, however, subsequently face conditions of forced labor, including through such practices as the unlawful withholding of passports, restrictions on movement, inability to change or otherwise choose one's employer, nonpayment of wages, threats, sexual assault, and physical intimidation," the report read.

In addition, it is stated that "many labor recruitment agencies in source countries and in Israel require workers to pay recruitment fees typically ranging from $4,000 to $20,000 – a practice making workers highly vulnerable to trafficking or debt bondage once working in Israel."

The report notes that "an increased number of migrants (approximately 14,000) crossed into Israel in 2010 from the Sinai, compared with approximately 5,000 in 2009.

"Organized Bedouin groups kept many of these migrants captive in the Sinai; an unknown number of them were forced into sexual servitude or labor to build homes and serve as domestic workers."

Israel is not included in the list of western democratic states in terms of fulfilling the minimal standards required to battle human trafficking – a list which includes western Europe, United States, Canada and Australia.

Instead, Israel is placed in Tier 2, alongside countries such as Pakistan, Rwanda, Senegal, Oman and Sierra Leone.

According to the report's classification, Tier 2 includes "countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards."

At the bottom of the list are Tier 3 states such as Iran, North Korea, Algeria, Myanmar, Kuwait, Syrian, Lebanon, Libya and Yemen.,7340,L-4088190,00.html


US faults Swiss human trafficking record

The United States has criticised Switzerland again for its record on preventing human trafficking.

In its annual review of international efforts to eliminate sexual slavery and the trade of humans, the State Department also pointed out on Monday that Swiss law does not prohibit prostitution by 16- and 17-year-olds.

Last year's report ranked Switzerland as a “Tier 2” country for that reason. This year it gave it the same ranking.

Prostitution is currently permitted from age 16 in Switzerland. Last summer, Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga signed a Council of Europe convention that would outlaw prostitution by people under 18. The Swiss government now needs to draft the appropriate legislation.

The new American report noted that Switzerland had taken important legal steps but said it needed to do more. It recommended that Switzerland sentence traffickers more harshly.

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton estimated that between 1,500 and 3,000 people in Switzerland were affected by human trafficking – most of them women and minors schlepped there to work in the sex trade or as beggars and thieves.




We must punish prostitution's buyers


Globe and Mail

While the Ontario Court of Appeal reviews a lower court decision striking down Canada's anti-prostitution laws, Canadians are seemingly faced with two extreme positions. On one hand, the three defendants are trying to portray prostitution as an occupation that can be made safer. On the other, the federal government is arguing that it's under no obligation to protect those who make the “economic choice” to engage in what might be perilous behaviour.

But instead of siding with either of these positions – certain to put even more women at risk for sex trafficking – the Court of Appeal has the opportunity to move Canada in the direction of embracing a legal process based on human rights and women's rights known as the Nordic model, which originated in Sweden and has spread to countries such as Norway, Iceland, the Philippines and South Korea.

Supporting a legal model that discourages the demand for commercial sex would be consistent with Canada's internationally respected human-rights record.

First, countries that either decriminalize or legalize prostitution send an unmistakable signal to human traffickers that they are welcome to conduct “business” in their country. These policies create legal conditions that are hospitable to human trafficking, and countries that have legalized or decriminalized prostitution are witnessing a dramatic increase in both the demand for prostitution and the incidence of sex trafficking it fuels.

Studies also point to the inherent violence that is prostitution. Melissa Farley of Prostitution Research and Education has found that prostitution is built on a foundation of abuse, most often beginning in the childhood of the prostituted. The prostituted are then purchased and subjected to further abuse through sex. Dr. Farley has concluded that those subjected to prostitution suffer enormously from the repeated acts of violence done through commercial sex.

Second, prostitution is most often a practice of sex discrimination, in which girls and women are targeted for sexual violence. It's a social injustice stemming from and perpetuating the world's oldest inequality, the one between men and women. Women who are further marginalized through racial and ethnic discrimination rank among the most vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation. Prostitution is also inextricably linked to sex trafficking. Decriminalizing prostitution ignores the underlying social inequalities that give rise to sexual exploitation and is fundamentally at odds with achieving gender equality.

The way to address an injustice is not to make it more tolerable but to eradicate it completely. The most effective way to address this oldest oppression is to create the legal, political and social conditions that give women an alternative to prostitution rather than working to keep them in the sex industry. In other words, social policy should reflect the right not to be prostituted.

Let's not act to make the cages more comfortable – let's eliminate the cages entirely. Canada should decriminalize the prostituted and address demand by penalizing the buyers .

This approach, the Nordic model, is based on the recognition that prostitution is violence against women, and that women are human beings who can't be bought or sold for commercial sexual exploitation. It criminalizes the sex industry and their customers while decriminalizing those exploited in the sex trade. By criminalizing the purchase of a sexual act, the law identifies and penalizes the agents of the harm inherent in prostitution. It's the only approach that will reduce sex trafficking.

Norma Ramos is executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women.


Internet Impacts Crime & Crimefighting

by Josephine Bennett

ALBANY, Ga. — Technology is making it easier for sexual predators in rural parts of the state to access child victims of sex trafficking. But new laws could make it easier for police to find the traffickers.

Dougherty County District Attorney Greg Edwards recently underwent training on combating human trafficking. He says he was surprised to learn that rural southwest Georgia is a destination for people paying to have sex with children.

He says local predators contact pimps through sites like Backstage and Craig's List.

“Atlanta seems to be the base where people go, but using the internet the sex slaves as such are then sent to locations to meet at hotels/motels within this part of the country.”

But the state is also using technology to combat the problem. Recent changes to state law make it easier for police to access information about alleged pedophiles from online service providers.



Santa Barbara police scale back hunt for remains of girl who disappeared in 1961

After nearly a week of excavating beside a freeway bridge, Santa Barbara police said Monday that they have scaled back their hunt for the remains of a little girl who disappeared in 1961.

Police were drawn to the bridge spanning the 101 Freeway in Goleta because it was built around the time of Ramona Price's disappearance as well around the time that Mack Ray Edwards, a confessed serial killer, worked at the site as a heavy equipment operator.

Cadaver dogs last week alerted officials to an area on the bridge's embankment, but digging over the next few days did not uncover the 7-year-old girl's remains, according to a statement from the police.

“Reasons for the alert include underground seeping from an unrelated burial located a significant distance away,” the statement said. “Such a burial could be much older than the Ramona Price case.”

A long-planned demolition of the bridge is being completed this week and police detectives will stay at the scene to check for possible evidence.



81-year-old sex offender arrested after alleged kidnap attempt of 12-year-old

An 81-year-old registered sex offender was in custody Sunday after allegedly attempting to entice a 12-year-old girl into his car in the Antelope Valley community of Littlerock.

The suspect, Keith Holmes, a resident of nearby Pearblossom, was arrested by sheriff's deputies on felony charges of attempted kidnapping of a child under 14 years old. He was being held on $1 million bail.

The girl was walking near Pearblossom Highway and 85th Street at about 10:50 a.m. Saturday, with her parents a short distance away, when the suspect pulled up beside her and asked if she wanted a ride, said Deputy Daryl Bonsall of the Palmdale sheriff's station. When she declined, he continued to drive slowly beside her. When the girl's mother confronted the suspect he sped away.

The mother reported the man's description and license plate number to Palmdale sheriff's deputies, who detained him a short distance away in Pearblossom. Officials said items consistent with the intent to kidnap were found inside the vehicle, but they did not elaborate.

Holmes has been convicted of annoying or molesting a child twice since 2009 and is currently on probation for those offenses.

Sheriff's officials asked that anyone with additional information or similar contacts call (877) 710-5273.



Exposure to domestic violence a form of child abuse

June 27, 2011

The FINANCIAL -- A new Australian Institute of Criminology report that says witnessing domestic violence should be recognised as a form of child abuse show the Gillard Government's reforms to the family law system are critical to the safety of children.

Attorney-General Robert McClelland and Minister for Justice Brendan O'Connor today released an Australian Institute of Criminology report Children's exposure to domestic violence in Australia.

The report underlines the harm to children from growing up in a violent household and emphasises the need for the Gillard Government's reforms to the family law system to protect children at risk of family violence and child abuse.

“The study finds that there is growing local and international recognition that hearing or seeing domestic violence is damaging to children and constitutes abuse. The report also looks at measures to better assist children who have grown up in violent household,” Mr O'Connor said.

“The report shows that children who are exposed to domestic violence at home can suffer many problems including acting violently themselves, as children or as they grow up.

“Domestic violence is a criminal offence, but it's also a social problem that has long lasting effects on victims, their families and communities across Australia,” Mr O'Connor said.

“By learning more about domestic violence and its effects, we can better address it and improve the ways we try to protect the most vulnerable in our community – especially children.

“The report shows that a substantial amount of domestic violence is witnessed by children, ranging from a child hearing violence or having to defend a parent against the violence, to “patching up” a parent after a violent incident,” Mr O'Connor said.

Attorney-General Robert McClelland said the Government's Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2011 contains key measures to create a safer and fairer family law system and prioritise the safety of children.

“This report builds on the body of evidence that shows that family violence and child abuse remain real concerns in our community. Family violence and child abuse are completely unacceptable and that is why the Government has introduced the Family Violence Bill.

“The Family Violence Bill prioritises the safety of children, encourages people to bring forward evidence of family violence and child abuse, and helps families, professionals and the courts to better identify harmful behaviour through new definitions of ‘family violence' and ‘child abuse',” he said.

“There are clearly serious, and often long-term, negative effects of exposure to violence on a child's physical and social development. In recognition of this, the Family Violence Bill expands the definition of child abuse to include a child's exposure to family violence.”

The Family Violence Bill is currently being considered by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, and will then be considered in the Senate.

“This legislation will significantly improve the protections in place to ensure the safety of children in the family law system,” Mr McClelland said.

“It will help people within the system to understand and recognise family violence and child abuse, and encourage them to act.

“There is a growing body of evidence that these reforms are urgently needed to protect children and families and I would strongly encourage Senators to support this important legislation.”

Children's exposure to domestic violence in Australia documents the effects that exposure to domestic violence can have on children, including psychological, behavioural, health and socio-economic effects, as well as the link with the intergenerational transmission of violence and re-victimisation.



Reducing child abuse potential

June 27, 2011

Many children's services are required to deliver evidence-based interventions, but for those working within the child protection system this is a difficult task. Whilst many interventions have proved successful at improving outcomes for families living in a number of different contexts, very little is known about the effectiveness of these programs when delivered to those involved with the child protection system, particularly when there is evidence or suspicion of child maltreatment.

However, new research suggests that one program - Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) - is successful at both reducing risk factors associated with child maltreatment as well as reducing notifications of abuse to child protection services. Australian researchers Rae Thomas and Melanie Zimmer-Gembeck of Griffith University recently reported the results of their experimental trial in the journal Child Development.

The study involved 150 mothers and their children (mean age 5 years) from Queensland, Australia. Each was in contact with child protection services either because they were referred by professionals who had identified them as suspects of maltreatment, or because they requested help with their child's behavior and high levels of family stress.

Regardless of the route by which they became known to the child protection system, the mothers were confirmed to be at high risk of child maltreatment following semi-structured clinical interviews conducted by trained psychologists.

Each family was randomly allocated into one of two conditions. Those allocated to the first condition received standard PCIT and those allocated to the second ‘control' condition were placed on a three month waiting list - at the end of 12 weeks they too would receive PCIT. Three months is a shorter wait than is usual for experiments of this kind, however it was deemed essential to limit the length of the wait because of the high-risk nature of the sample. Parents on the waiting list were contacted weekly for brief conversations about family issues and other concerns.

One of the main risk factors for child abuse and maltreatment is coercive parenting. Coercive patterns of interaction arise through negative reinforcement, meaning that a child has learnt that naughty behaviors such as running around and acting out attract attention from their parent, albeit in the form of a reprimand. Increasingly worse behavior is adopted and even more attention follows, thus the parent unintentionally reinforces the bad behavior. Escalating levels of coercive interactions between parent and child can eventually lead to child maltreatment.

A lack of knowledge of and inappropriate use of discipline, aggressive and harsh communication styles, a lack of parental sensitivity and high levels of stress are also commonly associated with coercive family relationships and implicated in the onset of maltreatment. Thus, the goal of PCIT is to reduce all of these risk factors by coaching parents to have more positive interactions with their children.

Parents are taught specific skills prior to each phase of the intervention. Those skills are then practiced in a therapy room, under the observation of the PCIT therapist who watches from behind a two-way mirror and communicates with the parent via a ‘bug-in-the-ear' device. This allows the therapist to coach the parent, give immediate feedback and positive encouragement during real-time interactions with their children. Parents are also required to practise their new skills, unsupervised, at home. The number of sessions that the family attends depends on how quickly they attain mastery in all of the skills in which they are coached. Once they can consistently demonstrate positive interactions with their child, and also personally express a clear understanding of their own change, the intervention comes to a close.

In the first phase of PCIT, known as Child Directed Interaction (CDI), the focus is on building a warm and positive relationship between child and parent. The child is allowed to take the lead in interactions and parents develop skills related to giving praise, imitating play, describing behavior, being enthusiastic, ignoring undesirable behavior and avoiding criticism of their child. In the second phase of the intervention, known as Parent Directed Instruction (PDI), parents are taught to maintain age-appropriate and realistic expectations of their child's behavior as well as to develop fair and consistent boundaries and disciplinary strategies. Parents are coached, again from behind the mirror, on the time-out procedure and responding consistently to misbehavior.

PCIT has proved to be effective in several randomized controlled trials with single and multiple-problem families, but this is the first evaluation to test the standard program with families in which there is known or suspected maltreatment. The Australian trial revealed that after completing PCIT, there were significant reductions in child abuse potential (related to the specific risk factors identified earlier), greater parent sensitivity, better behaved children and fewer notifications to child protection services in the program group when compared with the families on the waiting list.

However, there was a high attrition rate. Only 42% of those families allocated to the intervention condition actually completed PCIT to the satisfaction of their coach. Whilst non-completers did receive some benefits from attending PCIT sessions, the most substantial improvements were demonstrated by those who completed the program, particularly, according to the researchers, in relation to the more entrenched risk factors.

Whilst the dropout rate might be high, Thomas and Zimmer-Gembeck argue that it is no higher than is usually observed by other services working with high-risk families or those with children experiencing significant conduct problems. They argue that whilst more research is needed to identify the ‘active ingredients' of PCIT in terms of the specific mechanisms that effect change in parent and child interactions, the program should nevertheless ‘be one treatment of choice for practitioners working with parents at high risk of child maltreatment'.

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