Millersville University and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) system are participating in the “Minors on Campus Task Force” and a new initiative “Stop it Now!”
“The need for the task force and initiative emerged in light of new statistics released that one in six boys and one in four girls will be sexually abused before age 18 and because of concern over what happened at Penn State,” explained Dr. Aminta Breaux, vice president of student affairs and interim vice president of development and alumni relations. “The University is committed to making sure we do everything possible to protect children.”
Millersville’s police chief, Pete Anders, is serving on the Minors on Campus Task Force that is working on a policy each campus will be adopting. “We want to let parents and the community know that we can be trusted with the care of minors. We welcome parent questions and observation of any academic program or camp at Millersville,” said Anders.
The Stop it Now! Initiative is to raise awareness about child sexual abuse on college campuses. “We are developing a model that can be disseminated on campuses across the country,” said Breaux.
As part of the Stop It Now! Initiative, Millersville and other PASSHE schools have teamed up to develop a first-of-its-kind program that will train “Prevention Squads” to help prevent child sexual victimization on college campuses.
“We will be providing education and awareness to all of our employees to make sure they are knowledgeable about the initiatives and know how and when to make reports,” said Breaux.
Participants from all 14 PASSHE universities eventually will take part in an extensive two-day program developed in collaboration with Stop It Now! The pilot program will provide participants with the knowledge and skills necessary to help prevent children from becoming victims of sexual abuse. They will form “NOW! PASSHE Prevention Squads,” which will lead the prevention efforts at their respective universities.
“PASSHE’s staff and faculty have so many circles of influence and have the ability based on their positions to help to shape and create a culture of prevention,” said Deb Donovan Rice, executive director of Stop It Now! “If they prevent one child from being abused or create a safer and more protective environment for a child that has been victimized to ask for help through this program, then PASSHE has succeeded.”
Through the generosity of a donor focused on awareness and training in a college setting, Now! was able to take past research and its “Circles of Safety” modules to create a training program relevant to PASSHE universities to ensure that needs are met and issues are addressed. After the pilot training has been reviewed, it will serve as a training model for universities and colleges across the country. Training sessions were held in April and will begin again in October.