Home / Steps Toward Child Abuse Prevention & Creating Safe School Environments: A “How-to” Manual for Massachusetts Educators

Home / Steps Toward Child Abuse Prevention & Creating Safe School Environments: A “How-to” Manual for Massachusetts Educators

Steps Toward Child Abuse Prevention & Creating Safe School Environments: A “How-to” Manual for Massachusetts Educators

Fourth Edition
May 2024

By: Dr. Cynthia Crosson-Tower 
Dr. Anthony P. Rizzuto

I am pleased to present the 4th edition of this Manual to the districts, schools, and education programs throughout the Commonwealth. Since the last edition was published in 2016, significant progress has been made in the field of child sexual abuse prevention. The updates to this Manual are meant to reflect that progress and provide you with new and expanded evidence-based and informed guidance, insights, strategies, and tools to help you in your work to create school environments that help keep our children safe and prevent their abuse.

Through our co-chairmanship of the Massachusetts Legislative Task Force on the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, extensive regional community outreach and engagement, and direct interaction with administrators, faculties, and staff at the schools and other child- and youth-serving organizations across the state, we have listened to your needs and gathered, curated, and in some cases created a set of guidelines, tools, checklists, model documents, resources, criteria, and implementation and decision-making strategies that outline the major elements of comprehensive, effective, and actionable child abuse prevention structures.
We have also taken that set of resources and created and launched a new website called Safe Kids Thrive 1 – a free, state of the art primary prevention platform that is interactive and searchable and allows users to create customized toolkits that reflect their unique organizational needs, risks, and responsibilities. You will find many links to the website and its resources throughout this Manual.

On behalf of the Children’s Trust, it is our hope that Massachusetts schools, as key stakeholders in the prevention of child abuse and neglect, will use this Manual to update and renew their efforts to create and maintain an atmosphere of vigilance that protects children by preventing child abuse before it occurs; equips faculties and staffs with knowledge sufficient to recognize and stop abuse that is occurring; and puts into place policies, procedures, protocols and training such that, should child abuse be suspected, observed or disclosed to any faculty member, school employee or adult volunteer – that individual will possess the knowledge, information and resources needed to help the child and ensure their safety.

Jennifer Valenzuela
Executive Director
The Children’s Trust

1 https://safekidsthrive.org/

The Massachusetts Children’s Trust is a prevention organization that has dedicated itself and its resources to being part of the solution in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts since 1988. The Children’s Trust is the only Massachusetts organization solely dedicated to preventing child abuse and neglect and reaches every community in the Commonwealth to ensure that parents have the skills and knowledge necessary to raise safe and healthy children. It is a community leader in proactive efforts designed to support this goal through education and training programs, parent support groups, activities at Family Centers, and home visiting programs that provide information, support and referrals.