(Greg Lemon) – WASHINGTON — Congressman Joe Heck (NV-03) today joined Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D-Mass) to introduce the Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Act, legislation to protect children from sexual abuse. The legislation adds an additional use to an existing grant program to fund child sexual abuse awareness and prevention programs that provide age-appropriate lessons to primary and secondary school students on how to recognize and safely report sexual abuse.
Senators Dean Heller (NV) and Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) introduced the companion legislation in the Senate.
“Keeping children in our communities safe from sexual abuse starts with educating people to recognize the signs of abuse,” Rep. Joe Heck said. “Ensuring that states and local education agencies have the resources they need to educate students, parents, and guardians about how to recognize and report sexual abuse will aid in prevention and response to incidents of child abuse. I’m pleased to join my colleague Congresswoman Katherine Clark in advancing this important bill in the House and urge its swift passage.”
“When only a tenth of children who experience sexual abuse tell an adult and get help, then we, as a community, are failing them,” said Clark. “In school, we teach kids what to do in case of fires, inclement weather, or other emergencies. It’s only common sense that we teach them strategies to stay safe and to reach out to an adult if they are abused. The Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Act helps children learn how to recognize abuse, and empowers teachers and parents to work together to protect our kids.”
In 2013, there were a total of 60,956 instances of child sexual abuse reported to Child Protective Services agencies in the U.S. However, this number represents only the cases of child sexual abuse reported to and confirmed by child protection authorities. Many cases are never reported to welfare or legal systems.
Congressman Joe Heck represents Nevada’s Third Congressional District in the House of Representatives. He serves on the House Armed Services Committee, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.