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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: Public School Sexual Abuse Underreported

     Sexual abuse of children by teachers and other public school employees is likely underestimated because of a patchwork reporting system and involvement of numerous local, state and federal agencies in investigating such claims, according to a new government report….The report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) raises numerous questions about how closely public schools are following federal requirements for mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse allegations or suspicions involving the public school employees who oversee the 50 million children enrolled in the nation's public K-12 schools. The report also raises doubts about the accuracy of the data on the scope of the problem….

     Even when state law requires reports to be made to outside agencies, sometimes the information never goes beyond a school district--whether because of uncertainty about whether a report is necessary, delays in reporting or outright failure to report allegations or suspicions of abuse….

     GAO investigators said they found that most states do not require training of educators on sexual abuse, even though experts say it's critical to preventing abuse. The report said such training might keep school officers from discounting their own suspicions or observations….

Gil Aegerter and Joel Seidman, "Reporting of School Sexual Abuse Plagued by Confusion, Spotty Data, GAO Says," NBC News, January 30, 2014

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