Home / Appendices / APPENDIX N: Supplemental Guidance to Support EQT-3 Superintendent’s Circular

Home / Appendices / APPENDIX N: Supplemental Guidance to Support EQT-3 Superintendent’s Circular

APPENDIX N: Supplemental Guidance to Support EQT-3 Superintendent’s Circular

BPS Response to Child-Child Incidents of Sexual Behavior: Guidance for Informing Caregivers

When Incidents Involve Children Ages 11 and Under (criminal charges not allowed for children under age 12 per MA law)

Goal is to help caregivers to:

  • Understand BPS reporting requirements
  • Anticipate next steps
  • Receive sufficient information about the incident
  • Receive support and reassurance

Inform caregiver of school reporting requirements (School Police, Confidential Log, DCF), including:

  1. that the purpose of the reporting is both to share information about concerning incidents that occur between students AND to provide safety and support for all children/families affected;
  2. that BPS collaborates in this response with the other agencies who must be notified;
  3. that reports made involving children’s problematic sexual behavior are reviewed by the Boston Police Crimes Against Children Unit (CACU) and by the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office;
  4. that reports concerning the sexual behavior of children ages 11 and under are not investigated by the Boston Police or District Attorney’s Office but are, instead, referred to the Children’s Advocacy Center of Suffolk County (CAC) for support and services.
  5. that, when there is no criminal investigation, the Boston Police Department and District Attorney’s Office will not be contacting the family.
  6. that, some incidents of sexual behavior by children ages 12 and over may also be referred to the Children’s Advocacy Center when a criminal investigation is not considered the best approach.

Further explain referral to the Children’s Advocacy Center of Suffolk County (CAC)

With a referral to the Children’s Advocacy Center, the focus is on providing support and services for all the children and families affected.

A CAC Family Advocate (FA), with specialized training in children’s problematic sexual behavior, will follow up with the school and caregivers of all children involved. CAC FAs will try to learn more about what happened, how children and families are coping, and assess whether the sexual behavior is reason for concern. The CAC FA can assist with any services needed.

When indicated, the CAC FA will also explain the CAC’s free specialized services available for children ages 7-12 with problematic sexual behavior (Problematic Sexual Behavior-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / PSB-CBT).

  1. With caregiver consent, school can contact CAC directly to expedite contact with a Family Advocate, or;
  2. School can provide caregiver with CAC contact information and caregiver can contact CAC.

Provide caregiver with the essential factual information about the incident.

Caregivers typically expect the school to share details about what happened whether their child is the victim/target of sexual misconduct or the alleged initiator. Caregivers are likely to be more receptive to and collaborative with the school’s response, when they are adequately informed.

Updated September 2021
Supplemental Guidance to Support EQT-3 Superintendent’s Circular

General Guidelines:

  1. Emphasize school’s priority focus on child safety and well-being;
  2. Inform caregiver how incident came to adult attention;
  3. Share child’s exact words to describe the incident;
  4. Invite caregivers of a child initiating sexual behavior to share any explanations they may have for the behavior (What do they think could be the cause? Have they had prior concerns about their child’s sexual behavior?)
  5. Convey an understanding that children engage in sexual behavior for a variety of reasons and abuse is not the only cause.
  6. Communicate that most children with problematic sexual behavior can learn to stop this behavior with specialized counseling support for them and their family.


  1. “A child in your child’s class reported to the classroom teacher that your child rubbed this child on their private parts on top of their clothes.”
  2. “Several children told the teacher that while on the playground, your child chased them and grabbed them on their butts with both hands. When one of the children told her to stop, thechild said your child said, “I can do whatever I want.”
  3. “Your child told his/her teacher that while in the bathroom today, another child who is the same age told your child to pull down his/her pants and when your child said “no”, the other child pulled down your child’s pants and poked him/her in the private area”.

Assure caregiver that the school’s first concern is the safety of all children involved.

  • Explain school safety measures taken & planned (immediate, short-term, long-term).

Inform caregiver of school practice to speak with the caregivers of all children involved.

Provide general guidance for caregiver on how to follow up with their child about what happened:

  • Try to remain calm.
  • Allow their child to share what happened in their own words and at their own pace.
  • Be patient and try not to insert words when your child is talking.
  • Tell your child that all the adults (you, their teacher) are working together to keep them safe and healthy.
  • Use this opportunity to talk with their child about personal safety/rules about touching.
  • Let your child know you are there to listen to them and answer any questions.

Overview of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Suffolk County

The CAC is a non-profit agency that works in collaboration with many different agencies (DCF, police, prosecutors, schools, hospitals and other community providers) within Boston and throughout Suffolk County when child abuse is reported: www.suffolkcac.org

Model Contact Information:
Main CAC number: xxx.xxx.xxxx
Information about referral/services and to request consultation: Director of Mental Health at the CAC: xxxxxxx@cac.org
(Reprinted with Permission)


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