To the editor:

Thank you to all the brave survivors who have come forward to share their stories, and to The Salem News for editorializing on child sexual abuse (“Former Peabody teacher, city facing suit over sexual abuse” on Aug. 17 and “If I can change one kid’s life…,” on Aug. 18). Sexual abuse of children is a difficult topic to discuss, but that is why these conversations need to take place.

Child sexual abuse affects 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 13 boys, leaving them with lifelong and, in many cases, debilitating trauma. This must end. All children deserve to feel safe. Just as importantly, they deserve to know that the individuals charged with their care and the people they are told they can trust, will not betray that confidence.

I am proud to have filed legislation to protect our children, but also to hold perpetrators accountable for their heinous crimes.

The SHIELD Act (S.369) would require schools and youth-serving organizations to ensure staff are trained to recognize the signs of child sexual abuse. Another bill (S.1091) would inhibit those who have been accused of sexual misconduct from leaving and being hired elsewhere. Additional legislation would heighten the criminal penalty (S.1092) and civil penalty (S.132) for abusers who use their positions of power to engage in sexual misconduct over those whom they have authority.

In addition, to support survivors, I filed legislation that would eliminate the statute of limitations for criminal prosecutions (S.1087) and civil claims (S.1088) of child sexual abuse so they can seek justice against their abusers and collect from the violent crime compensation fund (S.368).

On Beacon Hill, I am grateful there is a strong bipartisan, bicameral effort to keep our children safe, and I will continue to fight until child sexual abuse is eradicated, once and for all.

Senator Joan B. Lovely,

Assistant Majority Leader,

Massachusetts State Senate,


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