Connecticut Seal

Substitute Senate Bill No. 203

Public Act No. 14-196

AN ACT CONCERNING A STATE-WIDE SEXUAL ABUSE AND ASSAULT AWARENESS PROGRAM.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2014) (a) Not later than July 1, 2015, the Department of Children and Families, in collaboration with the Department of Education and Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services, Inc. , or a similar entity, shall identify or develop a state-wide sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention program for use by local and regional boards of education. Such program shall be implemented in each local and regional school district and shall include:

(1) For teachers, instructional modules that may include, but not be limited to, (A) training regarding the prevention and identification of, and response to, child sexual abuse and assault, and (B) resources to further student, teacher and parental awareness regarding child sexual abuse and assault and the prevention of such abuse and assault;

(2) For students, age-appropriate educational materials designed for children in grades kindergarten to twelve, inclusive, regarding child sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention that may include, but not be limited to, (A) the skills to recognize (i) child sexual abuse and assault, (ii) boundary violations and unwanted forms of touching and contact, and (iii) ways offenders groom or desensitize victims, and (B) strategies to (i) promote disclosure, (ii) reduce self-blame, and (iii) mobilize bystanders; and

(3) A uniform child sexual abuse and assault response policy and reporting procedure that may include, but not be limited to, (A) actions that child victims of sexual abuse and assault may take to obtain assistance, (B) intervention and counseling options for child victims of sexual abuse and assault, (C) access to educational resources to enable child victims of sexual abuse and assault to succeed in school, and (D) uniform procedures for reporting instances of child sexual abuse and assault to school staff members.

(b) Not later than October 1, 2015, each local and regional board of education shall implement the sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention program identified or developed pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.

(c) No student in grades kindergarten to twelve, inclusive, shall be required by any local or regional board of education to participate in the sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention program offered within the public schools. A written notification to the local or regional board of education by the student's parent or legal guardian shall be sufficient to exempt the student from such program in its entirety or from any portion thereof so specified by the parent or legal guardian.

(d) If a student is exempted from the sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention program pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, the local or regional board of education shall provide, during the period of time in which the student would otherwise be participating in such program, an opportunity for other study or academic work.

Approved June 12, 2014