Utah Legislature Passes Safe Child Project Legislation

March 27, 2024
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The law funds child sexual abuse prevention for Utah’s elementary schools. 

Salt Lake City, UT – The Utah Legislature has taken a significant step towards protecting children from sexual abuse with the passage of Senate Bill 205. This landmark legislation, known as The Safe Child Project was developed in collaboration with The Policy Project who worked together with Prevent Child Abuse Utah, The Elizabeth Smart Foundation, and Saprea. The law aims to implement child sexual abuse prevention programs in elementary schools across the state. 

Child Sexual Abuse Prevention

Child sexual abuse is a grave issue that affects countless lives and communities. It is paramount to educate school communities and provide them with the necessary tools to recognize, prevent, and report abuse. The passage of SB205 reflects Utah’s commitment to addressing this issue head-on and fostering safe spaces for all children.

Under this legislation, elementary schools will have the opportunity to implement evidence-informed child sexual abuse prevention programs. These programs will focus on teaching children about personal boundaries, the difference between secrets to tell and surprises to keep, and identifying trusted adults they can go to if they ever need help. By empowering children, we can significantly reduce the risk of abuse and better protect our communities.

“This is an effective solution because it empowers our children with the knowledge and tools to protect themselves. Prevention education is not just a promising approach; it’s a proven one,” Emily Bell McCormick, Founder and President of The Policy Project said. “Studies show that participation in prevention programs can cut the likelihood of childhood sexual abuse in half. By implementing ‘The Safe Child Project,’ we’re not only addressing the issue at its core but also equipping our children with the ability to break free from the cycle of abuse,” 

Prevent Child Abuse Utah

Prevent Child Abuse Utah is a leading organization dedicated to preventing child abuse and advocating for the needs of Utah’s children. Through their education and support programs, they aim to strengthen families, educate adults, and create safe and nurturing environments for all children to thrive in.

Prevent Child Abuse Utah played a crucial role in the development and implementation of SB205. Their expertise in the field of child abuse prevention has helped shape this legislation, ensuring its effectiveness and long-term impact.

“We believe that prevention is the key to ending child abuse,” said Laurieann Thorpe, Executive Director of Prevent Child Abuse Utah. “By integrating prevention programs into schools, we can empower children, educators, and parents with the education to recognize, resist, and report abuse. This legislation marks a significant milestone in our mission to prevent child abuse, in all its forms. 

Prevention with Partnership 

The passage of SB205 signifies a significant milestone in the ongoing fight against child sexual abuse. By working together, the Utah Legislature, The Policy Project, Prevent Child Abuse Utah, The Elizabeth Smart Foundation, and Saprea are driving systemic change and ensuring the safety and well-being of Utah’s children.

“We applaud the Utah Legislature for prioritizing the protection of our children,” said Sarah Haley Nitta, Director of Eductation for Prevent Child Abuse Utah. “This legislation sends a strong message that child sexual abuse prevention is a priority in our state. It underscores the significance of prevention programs and their impact on shaping a brighter future for our children.”

These partners, in collaboration with the Utah State Board of Education, will continue their collaborative efforts to support schools in the successful implementation of child sexual abuse prevention programs. Through ongoing training, resources, and advocacy, they aim to create a statewide culture that prioritizes the safety and well-being of every child.