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What parents can do in cases of student sex assault

ADVANCE FOR USE MONDAY, MAY 1, 2017 AND THEREAFTER-In this Wednesday, March 29, 2017 photo, Adele Kimmel, senior attorney with the law firm Public Justice and head of its anti-bullying campaign, poses for a photograph at their national headquarters in Washington. “The notion of holding schools accountable and making sure they make changes to address sexual assault is very important to victims,” said Kimmel. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
May 01, 2017 - 8:19 AM

What can parents do if they believe their child has been the victim of sexual abuse at school? Here's advice from Adele Kimmel, a senior attorney at the Washington, D.C., non-profit organization Public Justice who is an expert on school bullying:

—Discuss with their child what action the child is comfortable taking.

—Report it to someone in authority, such as the school or district's Title IX co-ordinator, or a principal, assistant principal or superintendent.

—Push for a prompt investigation by the school, regardless of whether the abuse has been reported to police. Schools have an obligation to conduct their own investigations. In most cases, students are not required to report such abuse to police.

—Make sure the school provides accommodations so your child can continue their education in safety. This could include an order that the accused attacker have no contact with your child, as well as a change of class or schedule; counselling and health services, academic tutoring or homeschooling at no expense to you; and greater security. The burden is not on the victim to change classes or transfer schools.

—Document all conversations with school officials and save all related emails to preserve a written record of what happened, including your efforts to alert school officials and get them to take action.

—Consider contacting a lawyer if a school refuses to conduct an investigation, won't make accommodations or punishes your child.

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

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