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AZ Sets Example for Nation: Task Force to Explore Further Policies to Protect Kids and Assist Survivors
Phoenix, Arizona (September 5, 2019) – Today Arizona’s Justice for Victims of Child Sex Abuse Task Force will meet for the first time. The task force was created under the AZ Child Protection Act and will further address child sex abuse in Arizona. It is directed to inform new legislation aimed at preventing child sex abuse, which could be introduced in the Arizona State Legislature next spring.
“With the AZ Child Protection Act we sent a message to child sex predators – they no longer have a safe haven in the state of Arizona. By expanding and reopening the statute of limitations, we have given survivors the opportunity to seek justice and hold accountable their predators and the institutions who covered up the abuse,” said State Senator Paul Boyer (R-Glendale), co-chair of the task force and champion of the AZ Child Protection Act. “Our work, however, is not done, and Arizona will continue to lead the way for the nation.”
The primary objective of the task force will be preserving and building on the progress made this year in stopping child sexual abuse. In particular, further expanding the statute of limitations from age 30 to age 55, to bring it into line with the average age at which survivors of child sex abuse come forward, as studies have found that the median age at which survivors disclose their abuse is 48 and the average is 52.
“We are going to continue the journey we started this spring with the passage of the AZ Child Protection Act – working to protect kids, prevent child sex abuse, and help survivors heal,” said State Senator Heather Carter (R-Cave Creek), a champion of the AZ Child Protection Act. “For survivors of child sexual abuse, the pain doesn’t stop when the abuse does. In fact, survivors of child sex abuse experience higher rates of mental and physical health problems, and we are hoping to achieve a new understanding of child sexual abuse not just as an issue of law and order, but as a public health issue”
Other focuses of the task force will be addressing the need for preventative training and allocating more state resources for survivor support programs.
“The legislation informed by the task force will no doubt be an important step forward and key to stopping child sex abuse in Arizona,” said Jeff Dion, CEO of Zero Abuse Project. “We are grateful for this focus on preventative training and education on the signs of child sex abuse, as this is mission-critical to our shared goal of a world where children can live free from abuse.”
“We thank Gov. Ducey for his commitment to ending child sexual abuse and for the creation of this task force. We are also grateful to Senators Boyer and Carter for their tireless work to pass the AZ Child Protection Act,” said Bridie Farrell, a Zero Abuse Project grantee and CEO of NY Loves Kids. “The AZ Child Protection Act has given survivors of abuse a voice. The tides have changed – we can use the law to make our communities safer and protect kids.”
To learn more about Arizona’s Child Protection Act, please visit www.childprotectionact.org/