Location,TX 75035,USA

Erin Levitas Initiative Law Students Prepare to Work in Schools

Erin Levitas Initiative Law Students Prepare to Work in Schools: receive trainings about issues of sexual abuse and mandated reporting

Drew Fidler, LCWS-C, Director of Prevention & Education at Baltimore Child Abuse Center led a training with the law students of the Levitas Initiative at UM Law. As law students prepare to enter schools with UM Law staff to perform and design the new curriculum aimed to reduce sexual assault, experts like Drew are helping them gain knowledge and understanding to better serve and impact the students.

On January 29th, I had the pleasure of meeting with the Levitas Initiative law students. Together we delved into the issues of sexual abuse, dynamics of abuse, and how to work with and talk to children. Additionally, we discussed mandated reporting, child abuse laws and definitions, and Child Advocacy Centers (like Baltimore Child Abuse Center). Mandated reporters are professionals working with or responsible for the safety and care of children. It is because of their proximity to and the trust that is placed in them to look after children that they are required to report abuse under Maryland law. In the state of Maryland, all Marylanders “shall” report abuse if they reason to suspect abuse has occurred. In legal language this means, that even you have a responsibility to protect children and report if you have reason to suspect.

However, this smaller group, the mandated reporters have a binding, legal responsibility to the children they serve. If they suspect abuse they must report it. For these law students, preparing to go into the classroom and work with children means they need to be prepared to make a report and discharge their duty. This is the responsibility taken by any adult working with children. If they have reason to suspect, they must report. Why? The answer is simple, it is the law. Additionally, making that report may help that child, it may help to prevent future additional victims. The reality is that 1 in 10 children will be a victim of sexual abuse by age 18, 1 in 4 girls, and 1 in 6 boys. Ninety percent of abuse is perpetrated by someone a child knows and trusts. This is why it is so difficult to talk about and tell, so when a child either gets the courage to tell or an adult has suspicion that abuse has occurred – we cannot wait, we must discharge our duty and report. It takes a village to protect a child, and it takes a village to abuse a child.

The law students were eager and engaged. Baltimore Child Abuse Center and the students ended our time together by engaging in case studies and scenario exercises. These scenarios helped the law students to put in perspective what signs of abuse might look like and challenged them to think about what to do next. The students were engaged and eager to learn. Learn more about what you can do to prevent and report abuse at www.reportabusemd.com.

Contact Drew directly: dfidler@bcaci.org