Child Sexual Abuse

Child Sexual Abuse Prevention & Identification

Matt Komac, Assistant Director - PC Pool Operations

As an educator, you potentially play a significant role in identifying, reporting and preventing child sexual abuse.  This is because schools represent a place where abuse happens and/or where its unfortunate effects on children often manifest. And the problem of child sexual abuse is more widespread and severe than many of us may wish to acknowledge. According to recent research—

  • 1 out of 4 girls and 1 out of 6 boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18
  • 35-45% of childhood molestation happens within the family
  • 55-60% of child molestation happens at the hands of someone outside the family that the child knows and trusts
  • Nearly 10% of 8th through 11th graders surveyed said they were sexually abused at some point during their education, either by another student or by a school representative

As disturbing as these statistics are, it should further be noted that 86% of sexual assault cases are never reported.

Unsettling statistics like these beg the question, of course, what can be done and what can we as members of a caring Montana educational community do to help? For starters, MSGIA provides unlimited access to several SafeSchools Online Training Courses to help staff learn to identify and prevent child sexual abuse. 

They include –

21 Social and Behavioral Courses

  • Child Abuse: Identification & Intervention
  • Child Abuse: Mandatory Reporting
  • Human Trafficking Awareness

22 Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Courses

  • Introduction to the Child Sexual Abuse Pandemic
  • Grooming – Part 1 & Part 2 (Elementary)
  • Grooming – Part 1 & Part 2 (Middle School)
  • Grooming – Part 1 & Part 2 (High School)
  • Electronic & Social Media Boundaries
  • Off-site boundaries

We strongly encourage our members to make the time to take these courses. And if you are already familiar with the particulars of each, we ask that you help make the case as to why your colleagues who have not prioritized this essential and pressing professional development do so immediately.

Finally, regardless of whether one does, in fact, enroll in these courses, all of us should, at minimum, be familiar with a number of critical Montana laws dealing with the topic of Child Sexual Abuse Prevention & Identification. They are as follows:

45-5-503. Sexual intercourse without consent. (1) A person who knowingly has sexual intercourse with another person without consent or with another person who is incapable of consent commits the offense of sexual intercourse without consent.
45-5-501. Definitions. (1) (a) As used in 45-5-50245-5-503, and 45-5-508, the term "consent" signifies words or overt actions that indicate a freely given agreement to have sexual intercourse or sexual contact; it is further defined but not limited by the following:
(b) Subject to subsections (1)(c) through (1)(g), the victim is incapable of consent because the victim is: (x) a student of an elementary, middle, junior high, or high school, whether public or nonpublic, and the perpetrator is not a student of an elementary, middle, junior high, or high school and is an employee, contractor, or volunteer of any school who has ever had instructional, supervisory, disciplinary, or other authority over the student in a school setting;

Thank you for taking the time to review these laws, guidelines, and definitions; and thank you in advance for considering the MSGIA resources provided to you and your colleagues to help you to become a part of the solution to this problem. Back to newsletter