Spotlight on Policy
Advances in neuroscience and child development have taught us that the trauma children experience when they are exposed to physical, sexual, and emotional violence scars them physically and emotionally well into their adult lives.
Over 100,000 children in the U.S. are victims of human sex trafficking. The National Youth Law Center recommends collaboration across systems to address the problem.
On February 12, 2013, the Vera Institute of Justice released their recommendations for improving school safety and the delivery of mental health services. Recommendations include placing police in schools and approaching mental health care as a public health issue.
At a Youth Violence Prevention Summit convened by Congressman Robert C. Scott on January 22, 2013, professionals from justice, mental health, education, child development, and law enforcement discussed ways to identify threats of violence in schools and communities, strategies to reduce violence, and legislative initiatives to empower communities.
U.S. Senator Max Baucus has introduced a new bill, the "Protect Our Kids Act," requiring the development of a national strategy to combat children's deaths caused by abuse and neglect. The bill calls force a task force to review public and private child welfare systems and make policy recommendation.
The Michigan legislature passed a bill requiring school boards to adopt policies addressing child sexual abuse and create a task force to find ways to prevent the problem. The bill is named "Erin's Law" after a young adult survivor of sexual abuse who has successfully advocated for this legislation in several states.
On December 12, 2012, the Attorney General's Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence presented its recommendations for a national response during the quarterly meeting of the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in Washington, DC.
On Election Day 2012, California passed Proposition 35 increasing prison sentences, creating new protections for victims in court and expanding the definition of human trafficking to include child pornography.
On September 28, 2012, in Cleveland, OH, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Department of Justice and key stakeholders will partner with the United Way's 2-1-1-call-for-service line to identify and assist children in the Cleveland area exposed to violence.
New mandated reporting and child abuse laws have just been signed into law in San Diego. These are some of the latest examples of how States and communities are responding to the aftermath of the Penn State sexual abuse scandal.
The official definition of domestic violence in the U.K. is to be changed to ensure that thousands of teenage victims who are abused while in a relationship get the help and support they need. This is in response to a recent survey showing that 12.7 per cent of women and 6.2 per cent of men aged 16-19 experienced some kind of domestic abuse in the last year.
In 2010, Kentucky passed legislation mandating the dissemination of suicide information to middle and high school students. Teachers are required to do at least two hours of self-taught study before discussing the topic with their students.
Aug. 10, President Obama issued an Executive Order on Preventing and Responding to Violence Against Women and Girls Globally to further enhance the Administration's efforts to advance the rights and status of women and girls.
The Defending Childhood Taskforce on Children's Exposure to Violence met July 24-25 in Washington, D.C. Over the past several months, the task force met with practitioners, researchers, advocates and survivors in hearings across the country as they work to shape policy recommendations on how to reduce the impact and prevalence of childhood exposure to violence. July 25 they discussed their experiences and the impending report.
Attorney General Eric Holder launched the Defending Childhood Initiative in September 2010 to prevent, address, reduce, and more fully understand childhood exposure to violence. On May 15-17, 2012, representatives from the eight Defending Childhood demonstration sites gathered in Washington, DC for a series of presentations, peer-to-peer exchanges and dialog with Justice Department leadership.
A recent study by the Government Accountability Office found legal protections for vulnerable youth, including those identifying as LGBT, need to be assessed. The final report includes findings and recommendations to DOE, HHS and DOJ to provide more information to those impacted by bullying.