In Utah, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused in some form by the time they turn 18. This, among many other statistics and anecdotes, was shared this week during a legislative committee hearing. The sobering facts were part of the discussion around H.B. 137, a bill which would have made child abuse prevention education opt-in instead of opt-out.
It led to a broader discussion about sexual abuse of children, which occurs at alarming rates in Utah. Nationally 10 percent of child sexual abuse reports are substantiated and in Utah it is 28 percent - almost three times the national rate.
I serve on the board for Prevent Child Abuse Utah (PCAU), the largest provider of child abuse prevention education in Utah. PCAU works with parents, teachers, children, and the community at large in a shared commitment to end all forms of child abuse in Utah. They use age-appropriate education to help children understand how to identify abuse, and what to do if they ever experience it.
There is often a lot of discussion around sex ed at the legislature. I testified briefly on this bill in my capacity as a board member, clarifying that the child abuse prevention education offered by PCAU is not sex ed. The curriculum is approved by the State Office of Education, and focuses solely on empowering children to protect themselves.
I’m relieved this bill didn’t pass, because moving to an opt-in system could reduce the number of children being educated. And, sadly, sometimes the abusers are the parents. I believe we need to give our children good resources and knowledge so they will be aware if they ever experience abuse. I’m deeply appreciative to the work of PCAU, and other organizations like it. I’ll continue to support efforts to teach our kids how to recognize and report abuse. Adults can also be better educated about child sexual abuse. There is an online course for parents and community members to learn how to better protect their children.
To learn more, visit http://pcautah.org/.
With Utah’s legislative session starting in just a couple weeks, there will be many important issues debated that impact Utahns in profound ways. One issue I plan to be personally involved with is the effort to create a statewide crisis intervention line. I blogged about the need for this resource last year, explaining why such a tool would help more Utahns get help they need to prevent the tragedy of suicide.
I've heard instances in our community where minority children are being bullied since the election results were announced on Tuesday. Other children have said things like, "Now you're going to get deported," or "Go back to your country." I am sick about this! All of us parents need to have conversations with our kids and make sure it's clear that it's not okay to do. School administrators need to make it very clear that bullying and discrimination will not be tolerated and make sure there are consequences to those who do so. Please... this is not okay. Stand up and let your voice be heard that discriminating against race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, political leanings, etc. is NOT acceptable in our communities!! We are better than this!
These posters have been popping up in neighborhoods in Salt Lake County.
On Thursday dozens of law enforcement officers swarmed the Rio Grande area of Salt Lake City as part of a coordinated effort to disrupt the drug trade among the area’s homeless. “Operation Diversion” was a collaboration between Salt Lake County and Salt Lake City.
People caught dealing or using drugs were arrested, but instead of simply taken to a jail cell, they were taken to a temporary receiving center. The goal? Connect them with drug treatment to interrupt the cycle of incarceration and drug use that plagues this population.
No mother wants to hear her child speak the words “I want to die.” But for parents of children battling depression, that is a fear. And for me, it became a reality when one of my sons was struggling and needed help.
This week, the Salt Lake County Council did not throw support behind the current terms of the tax incentive to bring Facebook’s new data center to West Jordan. We voted unanimously to direct our representative to the “TEC Council” to vote no.
(The TEC Council is the 8 member board comprised of various taxing entities which ultimately decides whether to accept the deal to lure Facebook here through tax incentives)
How a little bug can do a lot of good in our broader Jordan River management plan.
As a Salt Lake County Council member I get to learn about many different, pressing issues for the county. Sometimes that entails learning a bit about weevils. Normally considered a nuisance, last Friday I learned the value these bugs/insects are bringing to our management of the Jordan River.
The Salt Lake County Council got a full briefing yesterday on the health of the county economy as well as the county budget. In a nutshell: our economy is strong and our budget is in good shape. This was part of our midyear budget review, which takes place in June of each year.