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Public Statements

Child Abuse Prevention

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Ms. BASS of California. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. During this month, it is important that we acknowledge the role that we all play in promoting the social and emotional well-being of children in our communities. Unfortunately, throughout this congressional term, we've been astonished by a few high-profile child sex abuse cases; and in some situations, the abuse was unreported for years, leaving dozens of youth vulnerable to further maltreatment for decades. This is unacceptable. Adults should never turn a blind eye after seeing sexual abuse firsthand.

Sadly, failing to report child sexual abuse is not new. In 1999, Sherrice Iverson, a 7-year-old girl from Los Angeles was attacked in a restroom. A witness didn't stop the attack or even call for help. She was ultimately murdered. Fortunately, California enacted a law in her name to help ensure this never happens again.

At the end of 2011, Representative Bobby Schilling and I introduced a similar bill here in Congress. The bipartisan Speak Out to Stop Child Abuse Act requires all adult witnesses to report child sexual abuse to law enforcement or Child Protective Services. I ask my colleagues to cosponsor this bipartisan bill.

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