Blueprint details agenda for swift and decisive government action to protect children and adolescents from sexual violence. Washington, D.C. – Keep Kids Safe, a movement of survivors and allies, will launch the National Blueprint to End Sexual Violence Against Children and Adolescents on November 18, 2021. The blueprint lays out an agenda for action calling on the executive and legislative branches to act immediately to keep our kids safe through comprehensive prevention, healing, and justice initiatives.
Most child-protection-focused policies, laws, and programs in the U.S. are underfunded, siloed, and fragmented. By making smart federal policy and funding investments as outlined in the Blueprint, the U.S. can deliver practical and cost-effective programs, policies, and systems that prevent child abuse as well as deliver effective interventions to assist children and families during and after a crisis and help survivors heal and seek justice.
“Every child has the right to grow up free from the threat of sexual violence,” said Dr. Daniela Ligiero, Executive Director & CEO of Together for Girls. “The National Blueprint lays out the path the United States must follow to create a safer world. I believe that when we work together, as survivors and allies, we are powerful. We must be brave so that children can be safe.”
“There is no more time to wait. The current patchwork of child safeguarding laws in the United States does not provide children, victims, and survivors the uniform access to prevention, healing, and justice that they deserve. We can end this, but we must do it together,” said Katelyn N. Brewer, President and CEO of Darkness to Light. “It is high time that the issue of child sexual abuse is addressed at the highest level of government, and we believe this Blueprint contains the best strategies for prevention, healing and justice,” said Zach Hiner, Executive Director of SNAP. “The Keep Kids Safe coalition has done great work to create this roadmap and now it is time for our elected officials to use their offices to protect children and support survivors.”
“It is time for the government to prioritize ending child sexual abuse,” said Julie Ann Rivers-Cochran, executive director of The Army of Survivors. “As an organization focused on sexual violence in sports, we believe in the importance of child safety and wellbeing in all environments, whether it be the home, school, or field. Partner organizations have come together nationwide to provide expert opinion on this blueprint, which can serve as a roadmap for the U.S. government to provide immediate action.”
“We are in the midst of a civil rights movement for children. CHILD USA is thrilled to be one of four major child protection organizations to join hands through this blueprint, “said Marci Hamilton, Founder, and CEO of CHILD USA. “Without a doubt, we are stronger together and the time for reform is now.”
Keep Kids Safe’s call for reform includes declaring sexual violence against children and adolescents a U.S. public health emergency. To appropriately address this diagnosis, the blueprint lays out solutions to accomplish reform including passing comprehensive national legislation, creating a bipartisan commission for child protection, convening a federal interagency task force, establishing a data working group, holding a national summit, launching public education and engagement campaigns, and mobilizing financial resources.
American children and adolescents are exposed to sexual violence of many forms at a staggering rate. Throughout the pandemic, many children have been separated from safe adults, mandated reporters, and trained professionals who could have protected them. Online child abuse and exploitation, already one of the biggest and fastest-growing crime challenges nationally, has also spiked as children have spent unprecedented time online. Investment in systems that not only prevent child sexual abuse and exploitation from happening in the first place but also on those that focus on effective interventions to assist children and families during and after crisis is critical. Equally important are systems that help victims and survivors heal, thrive, and seek justice to hold offenders accountable and prevent further victimization.
Formed in 2020, the Keep Kids Safe is a powerful national movement of organizations, survivors, and allies including The Army of Survivors, CHILD USA, Darkness to Light, The Monique Burr Foundation for Children, the National Children’s Alliance, Prevent Child Abuse America, RAINN, SNAP, and Together for Girls. Working together, and with bold action from the federal government, Keep Kids Safe believes we can end sexual violence against children for this and for generations to come.
For more information, please contact Dr. Paul Zeitz, Interim Keep Kids Safe
About the Keep Kids Safe Movement
The Keep Kids Safe Movement is a powerful partnership between organizations, survivors, and allies focused on ending sexual violence against children and adolescents in all its forms – child sexual abuse, incest, child sexual exploitation, rape, sexual violence in dating relationships, and sexual violence among peers. The movement is focused on inclusive, comprehensive, bold and transformative action from leaders including: prevention to protect this and every generation to come, healing for victims, survivors, and their families, and justice for victims and survivors, and accountability for perpetrators and institutions who covered up the abuse. For more information, visit www.keep-kids-safe.org.