Eleven months into the Child Victims Act’s yearlong “look-back” window, hundreds of cases exposed the laws and procedures surrounding reporting child sexual abuse — and the gaps within those laws and procedures.
Some of those laws like New York state’s mandatory reporting law are pushing to include priests as obligated to notify authorities about suspected child abuse, others like Erin’s Law are hoping education can protect children from predators.
Groups like the Movement to Restore Trust look at the lack of clarity in the Diocese of Buffalo’s own reporting procedures and how victims are often confused or deflated when reporting through the Catholic Church.
Patricia Logan-Greene, an associate professor at the University at Buffalo School of Social Work, criticize the expectation that victims of clergy abuse should know how to report this abuse.
“First of all, we’re talking about children. Now some of these children may be a little bit older and have a little bit more of a sense of how they even would report,” Logan-Greene said. “But for young children, they don’t know how [and] abusers often manipulate this.”
On Sept. 5, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed Erin’s Law, which aims to inform New York public school students predatory behaviors to prevent abuse from happening and the resources available to them.