Sexual abuse training required

Published 1:10 pm Monday, January 13, 2020

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All North Carolina schools now require employee training

COLUMBUS—North Carolina school employees will now be required to attend training to teach them how to report and recognize sexual abuse and sex trafficking. 

The law came into effect Jan. 1 this year and the new law means that it will be a misdemeanor crime to not report when a school employee suspects or knows of a child who is being physically or sexually abused. 

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Polk County Schools already provides training for physical and sexual abuse to children, so the new law will not affect the local system. 

Polk County Schools Superintendent Aaron Greene said this week that there has always been a law and the new part of the bill passed is required training, but Polk County is already involved in training. 

Greene said the school system will update its policies to reflect the changes in the new law. 

“I feel pretty good about where we are in our process,” Greene said. 

Polk County Schools had an anonymous donor to provide the local program Darkness to Light training for its employees. 

The new law, Senate Bill 199, was passed in the fall of 2019. The law also includes that the statute of limitations was extended for civil lawsuits against predators who sexually assaulted children as well as other protections for children. 

Senate Bill 199 was prompted by the high rate of human trafficking occurring in North Carolina. North Carolina has one of the highest rates of human trafficking in the country. 

The required training will cover prevention, warning signs, how to intervene and legal responsibilities and resources. 

In sexual abuse cases, 9 out of 10 victims know their abuser, with 88 percent of the suspects being male.