Dodging the Bulletin highlights important topics, real-life cases, and helpful guidance and ideas to keep employees and organization safe.

Keeping Our Children Safe Series – What to Do and Say if a Child Discloses Sexual Abuse to You

This article will provide an overview on:

  1. What to do
  2. How to act
  3. What to say if a child reports sexual abuse to you
  4. Brief discussion of common barriers to child reporting

How to Act and What to Say

It can be difficult to know what to say and do if a child tells you they have been, or are being, sexually molested or abused. They might not realize what is happening or that it is wrong. If a child talks to you about online sexual abuse it is important to:

  • Listen carefully to what they are saying and try not to interrupt
  • Praise them and let them know they have done the right thing by telling you
  • Let them know they would not get in trouble
  • Tell them it is not their fault
  • Say you take them seriously
  • Not confront the predator
  • Explain what you will do next

Many predators use secret-keeping or threats as a way of keeping children quiet about abuse. Remind your child frequently they will not get in trouble for talking to you, no matter what they need to say. When they do come to you, follow through on this promise and avoid punishing them for speaking up.

Important Additional Steps

  • Make sure to document everything you see and/or hear – Dates, times, detailed descriptions, summaries of phone conversations, and save emails and screenshot text messages or social media.
  • Immediately report the conduct to your local law enforcement agency.
    • The sad reality is if this predator is engaging in predatory acts toward your child, they are likely engaging in the same behavior with other children or have in the past. If they are not reported, the conduct will continue and likely escalate.
    • You can contact your local FBI field office or submit a tip online at: You can file a report with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678 or online at
  • Verify your mandatory reporter status – You may have a legal obligation to immediately report this to law enforcement. Keep in mind there are numerous states where everyone is a mandatory reporter for child abuse and child sex abuse. If you are in those states, parents would be legally required to report what they have been told; it’s not just teachers or others in a work environment that have this duty.
  • Trust your gut instinct. If it is telling you something is off, you are probably right. Even if it turns out to not be illegal behavior, you’d rather be safe than sorry when it comes to our children’s safety.

 Common Barriers to Child Reporting

  • Fear of repercussions
  • Inability to articulate the harm
  • Shame
  • Embarrassment
  • Lack of understanding of policies, procedures, or what has/is happening
  • Power dynamics
  • Relationship to perpetrator, especially if grooming is involved. The child will not likely know they are being groomed or understand what it is happening, but they may be hesitant to report because:
    • The perpetrator is using blackmail to make them feel guilt and shame or they may be introducing the idea of “secrets” to control, frighten and intimidate them.
    • They may like being someone’s “special” friend and having the person close to their family/friends.
    • They may like receiving gifts without occasion or reason.

Active involvement in a child’s life can help them overcome barriers to reporting and feel more comfortable coming to you if something isn’t right. Your child needs to trust you and know without a doubt you are their protector. Some ways to do this are:

  • Get to Know the People in Your Child’s Life – Know who your child is spending time with, including other children and adults. Ask your child about the kids they go to school with, the parents of their friends, and other people they may encounter, such as teammates or coaches. Talk about these people openly and ask questions so your child can feel comfortable doing the same.
  • Choose Caretakers Carefully – Whether it is a babysitter, a new school, or an afterschool activity, be diligent about screening caregiversfor your child.
  • Talk About the Media – Incidents of sexual violence are frequently covered by the news and portrayed on television. Ask your child questions about this coverage to start a conversation. Questions such as, “Have you ever heard of this happening before?” or “What would you do if you were in this situation?” can signal to your child these are important issues they can talk about with you. Learn moreabout talking to your kids about sexual assault.
  • Know the Warning Signs – Become familiar with the warning signs of child sexual abuse, and notice any changes with your child, no matter how small. Whether it is happening to your child or a child you know, you have can make all the difference in a child’s life by stepping in.
  • Be Available – Set time aside to spend with your child where they have your undivided attention. Let your child know they can come to you if they have questions or if someone is talking to them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable. If they do come to you with questions or concerns, follow through on your word and make the time to talk. Commit to believing your child and putting their well-being above anyone else. Your child needs to trust you and know without a doubt you are their protector.
  • If a child tells you someone makes them uncomfortable, even if they cannot explain specifics, listen.
  • Open communication can be a challenge with teens, but it’s an important part of keeping them safe. As teens become more independent and spend more time with friends and other activities, it is important to keep the lines of communication open and let your teen know they can trust you and can always come to you with any problem or question.
  • Give children a chance to raise new topics – Sometimes asking direct questions such as, “Did you have fun?” and “Was it a good time?” may not give you the information you need. Give your child a chance to bring up their own concerns or ideas by asking open-ended questions such as, “Is there anything else you wanted to talk about?”

For more information on this article or past “Keeping Our Children Safe” series, contact us with any questions you may have. Call 877-455-8381 or email

New Year, New Laws

With the arrival of 2023 in just a few short weeks, we will see numerous laws go into effect. 2023, in particular, brings us a number of new laws focused on sexual misconduct and molestation. These laws have a direct effect on both private employers as well as municipalities, and cover topics such as criminal background checks in high-risk industries; staff training; mandatory reporting; statutes of limitations; and education. Below are noteworthy new laws both private and public employers need to be aware.

  • Arizona
    • SB 1294
      • Topic: Criminal Background Checks
      • Effective: December 31, 2022
      • Synopsis: The new law allows a person to file a petition to seal all criminal case records, if the person was: 1. Convicted of a criminal offense and has completed all of the terms and conditions of the sentence that was imposed by the court, including the payment of all monetary obligations and restitution to all victims; 2. Charged with a criminal offense and the charge was subsequently dismissed or resulted in a not guilty verdict at a trial; and 3. Arrested for a criminal offense and no charges were filed.
  • California
    • SB 731
      • Topic: Criminal Background Checks
      • Effective: January 1, 2023
      • Synopsis: The new law amends the state penal code to provide for criminal record relief by sealing the records of defendants convicted of most felonies on or after January 1, 2005, if they completed their sentence, probation, supervision, parole, and any other terms of their conviction, and are not convicted of a new felony for 4 years.
    • SB 1093
      • Topic: Background Checks for Home Care Agencies
      • Effective: January 1, 2023
      • Synopsis: The new law: 1. Allows applicants for home healthcare licenses to request transfers of criminal record clearance online; and 2. Removes the requirement to submit government-issued identification when requesting transfer.
    • AB 1467
      • Topic: Student Safety with Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence
      • Effective: January 1, 2023
      • Synopsis: Existing law requires that public post-secondary organizations adopt and implement written procedures to ensure that students, faculty, and staff who are victims of sexual assault committed at specified locations receive treatment and certain information. These organizations must annually review, and update as necessary, these procedures, which must include specified information, such as “[p]rocedures ensuring that each victim of sexual assault should receive information about the existence of at least the following options: criminal prosecutions, civil prosecutions, the disciplinary process through the college, the availability of mediation, alternative housing assignments, and academic assistance alternatives.”
      • The new law adds that the information provided must include procedures for obtaining the assistance of “[c]ounselors and support services for victims.” It also requires, amongst other things, that sexual assault and domestic violence counselors be independent of the campus Title IX office, and that any executive orders related to discrimination, harassment, and retaliation be submitted in an annual report to the chairs of the Assembly Committee on Higher Education and the Senate Committee on Education.
    • AB 1720
      • Topic: Home Health Services Background Checks
      • Effective: January 1, 2023
      • Synopsis: The new law removes the requirement for specified individuals connected with home healthcare facilities to sign a declaration regarding prior criminal convictions.
    • AB 1788
      • Topic: Human Trafficking in Hotels
      • Effective: January 1, 2023
      • Synopsis: Existing law requires hotels to provide at least 20 minutes of training to their staff on how to recognize human trafficking, but it does not create liability against a hotel for the lack of reporting a human trafficking case.
      • The new law, creates civil penalties against a hotel if: 1. Sex trafficking activity occurred in the hotel, a supervisory employee of the hotel knew, or acted with reckless disregard, of the activity constituting sex trafficking activity that occurred within the hotel and failed to inform the appropriate authorities within 24 hours (i.e., law enforcement); and/or 2. Any hotel employee was acting within the scope of employment and knowingly benefited (either financially or by receiving anything of value) from participating in a venture that the employee knew, or acted with reckless disregard, of the activity constituting as sex trafficking activity within the hotel. New civil penalties range from $1,000 to $10,000. The new law also creates a 5-year statute of limitations on these penalties from the date of the violation, or within the date the victim attains the age of majority.
    • AB 2683
      • Topic: Sexual Violence and Harassment in Post-Secondary Education
      • Effective: January 1, 2023
      • Synopsis: The new law requires that each campus of the California Community Colleges and the California State University post educational and preventive information on sexual violence and sexual harassment on its campus website. The posting must contain specific information, including: 1. Common facts and myths about the causes of sexual violence and sexual harassment; 2. What constitutes sexual violence and sexual harassment; 3. Methods of encouraging peer support for victims; and 4. The imposition of sanctions on offenders. The new law also requires that, beginning September 1, 2024, and each year thereafter, the California Community Colleges, the California State University, independent institutions of higher education that receive state financial assistance, and private postsecondary educational institutions that receive state financial assistance, annually train students on sexual violence and sexual harassment. This training must cover information included as well as: 1. The contact information of a Title IX coordinator or a similar position; 2. Specified statistics on the prevalence of sexual harassment and sexual violence in the educational setting; and 3. The differing rates at which students experience sexual harassment and sexual assault in education based on race, sexual orientation, disability, gender, and gender identity.
    • AB 2777
      • Topic: Statute of Limitations
      • Effective: January 1, 2023
      • Synopsis: Existing law states that the statute of limitations to commence a civil action for sexual assault is 10 years from thelast act, attempted act or assault with the intent to commit an act of sexual assault; or within three years from the date a plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered that an injury or illness resulted from those acts.
      • The new law, also known as the Sexual Abuse and Cover Up Accountability Act, states that actions commenced on or after January 1, 2019, and based on conduct that occurred on or after January 1, 2009, will not be time-barred, even if the 10-year statute of limitations has expired, provided that such claims are commenced by December 31, 2026. The act does not revive claims in which there has been, prior to January 1, 2023, a final decision by a court or a written settlement. The new law also provides that where a party seeks to recover damages based on a sexual assault that was “covered up” by an entity, the action may be commenced between January 1 and December 31, 2023, even if that claim would otherwise be time-barred. For the purposes of the law, “cover up” means “a concerted effort to hide evidence relating to a sexual assault that incentivizes individuals to remain silent or prevents information relating to a sexual assault from becoming public or being disclosed to the plaintiff, including, but not limited to, the use of nondisclosure agreements or confidentiality agreements.”  


    • SF 3805
      • Topic: Mandatory Reporting
      • Effective: June 1, 2023
      • Synopsis: This law, passed in 2021, requires youth recreation program employees to report child abuse. It initially was to take effect on June 1, 2022, but it has been delayed and will now take effect on June 1, 2023. The law creates a mandatory reporting obligation for city parks and recreation employees who are 18 or older.

This is only a small portion of new laws going into effect in 2023. It’s a lot of information and the good news is – we can help you stay in compliance. Contact our subject matter experts with any questions you may have. Call 877-455-8381 or email


Safe Holiday Travel

With December upon us, holiday travel is in full swing. The airports will be packed with travelers flying throughout the world, making it important to keep yourself and your loved ones protected against sexual misconduct. Below are some easy-to-implement strategies during holiday travel, particularly during long or overnight flights.

  • Be mindful about what information you divulge to strangers – Letting a seatmate know the previous 6 months have been difficult for you because of a divorce; or saying you are on your way to a vacation by yourself or you are wanting to drink and let loose could become very problematic. While you think this may be innocent, casual conversation during a flight, that information is intel to someone who is target-hunting.
  • Have a Way to End an Uncomfortable Conversation with a Stranger – Say you need to catch up on reading/work and take out a book/laptop. If you are trying to ditch someone who you no longer want to talk to and signal you are going to end the chat, put in earbuds and leave the music off.
  • Be Prepared to Escalate Your Response – Don’t hesitate to press the call button for a flight attendant or leave your seat to seek one. Respond to transgressions of social norms by setting boundaries.
  • Report, Report, Report – Report any misconduct to a flight attendant right away. Make sure to get the name of the attendant. If you feel your report was not taken seriously, report to the pilot, the police, and/or the airline immediately upon landing.
  • Document Everything – Aisle/seat number/letter/description of the perp and any other helpful details. For example, was the person drinking? How much? What?

Additionally, the FBI suggests taking the following precautions to prevent sexual assault during a flight:

  • Trust your gut. Offenders will often test their victims, sometimes pretending to brush against them to see how they react or if they wake up. Don’t give them the benefit of the doubt. If such behavior occurs, reprimand the person immediately and consider asking to be moved to another seat.
  • Recognize mixing alcohol with sleeping pills or other medication on an overnight flight increases your risk. Don’t knock yourself out with alcohol or drugs.
  • If your seatmate is a stranger, no matter how polite he or she may seem, keep the armrest between you down.
  • If you are arranging for a child to fly unaccompanied, reserve an aisle seat.
  • If something happens, report it immediately to the flight crew and ask they record the attacker’s identity and report the incident. Flight attendants and captains represent authority on the plane. The flight crew can also put the offender on notice, which might prevent further problems.

We can help you avoid victimization during holiday travel! These tips will not only protect yourself, your loved ones, and your organization from tragic and avoidable losses.

For questions, help, or more information on any of this information, contact our subject matter experts at 877-455-8381 or email