While even one incident of sexual abuse is one too many, North Carolina has lately seen several sexual assaults involving school children make headlines. Recently, WTVD-TV reported on a case involving a security guard at East Chapel Hill High School who was arrested and charged with engaging in a sex act with a student. Per the WTVD-TV report, the sex act did not involve intercourse but another type of sexual abuse. As of this writing, a woman who identified herself as the security guard’s wife told WTVD-TV that the investigation was handled poorly, charges are false and that the family is considering pursing legal action.
Preventing Sexual Assaults Involving School Children
National Public Radio (NPR) featured a story with tips schools and parents can use to prevent sexual assaults involving school children, including but not limited to the following:
- Educate Early – Begin teaching children about how to recognize behavior that violates their boundaries or the boundaries of others, such as asking someone if it is okay to hug them before hugging them.
- Never Blame the Victim – While it is okay to teach children how to recognize and guard against sexual assault at school, never make them feel as if they are to blame if they are the victim of sexual abuse. Always focus on the perpetrator and make sure the victim knows that their attacker is the only one at fault.
- Parents Need to Have “The Talk” Early – This does not mean to teach your toddler all about the birds and the bees. However, as early as kindergarten, children need to know the difference between proper and improper physical boundaries between themselves and adults. This means beginning “the talk” when they are younger, but continue the conversation as they grow up, covering various subjects as they become old enough to learn about them.
- Prevention Is a Group Effort – Parents and schools should make sure children know to keep an eye out for each other and report any suspicious activities involving sexual abuse that they see happening to others or even step up and help the person themselves if necessary.
The families of children who are victims of sexual abuse at school should speak to an experienced sexual assault lawyer about their situation. We consider the perpetrators of these acts to be nothing more than opportunistic predators looking for easy prey. Through a civil lawsuit, victims and their families may be able to hold those responsible accountable financially for their physical and emotional pain and suffering. Victims and families can file a civil claim even if the perpetrator was found not guilty of criminal charges or was not arrested or charged criminally following the incident.