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2013-8

Resolution Against Abuse and Sexual Aggression

SPEAKER JAIME PERELLÓ (PR) LAW & CRIMINAL JUSTICE TASK FORCE

WHEREAS, Mistreatment and sexual aggression are gross violations of human rights. These exist in several forms: sexual abuse, harassment, rape and sexual exploitation through prostitution and/or pornography.

WHEREAS, The problem has worsened in recent years. Due to the technology readily available nowadays, children are more vulnerable to abuse and sexual aggression abuse because often times adults use the internet for this purpose. In recent years, the number and circulation of images containing child abuse and sexual aggression of children has skyrocketed. Moreover, children themselves are using technological advances to send each other either messages or images of a sexual nature, namely “sexting”, which makes them even more vulnerable.

WHEREAS, The 2010 Census showed that 24% of the population is composed of people less than 18 years of age. For example, in 2010 a total of 903,295 individuals living in Puerto Rico were below 18 years of age.

WHEREAS, Cases of child abuse are becoming more frequent and their numbers are becoming increasingly alarming. According to the World Health Organization, in 2002 an estimated 150 million girls and 73 million boys experienced forced sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual violence involving physical contact.

WHEREAS, Studies and research on child sexual abuse have warned about the increasing numbers of children that have been victims of sexual assault in the last decades. Victimization investigations initially indicated that child victims of sexual offenses were attacked by unknown criminals strangers. However, subsequent studies have revealed the degree of familiarity between the perpetrator and the victim, with a high percentage of cases involving a family relationship between the perpetrator and the victim.

WHEREAS, Consequences of sexual abuse on children are, in each and every case, extremely severe: physical harm, especially in their genitals; emotional or psychological damage, due to the traumatic and stressful situation that threatens their lives; and socio-cultural damage.

WHEREAS, Despite the statistics, the true magnitude of child abuse and sexual aggression towards children is unknown because its nature is inherently sensitive and illegal. Most children and their families do not report these cases for fear of the stigma it could bring to their families, fear of unknown consequences it may carry, and distrust of authorities.

WHEREAS, According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, in 2011, 22.1% of the victims in child abuse cases were of Hispanic origin.

WHEREAS, The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislator (NHCSL) encourages the development of legislative initiatives that protect children regardless of their legal status, especially those who have been victims of sexual aggression suffered sexual assault crimes, in order to provide them with the quality of life they deserve.

WHEREAS, The NHCSL applauds and supports all initiatives that provide education regarding the signs of children abuse, particularly those on child sexual assault.

WHEREAS, The NHCSL reaffirms its support of every legislative effort which leads to the eradication and prosecution of this type of crime which lacerates the dignity of children.

WHEREAS, The NHCSL encourages legislators to take innovative steps, as part of their legislative agendas, in order to find solutions that address this social problem and protect children.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, That a copy of this resolution be transmitted to the President of the United States, the Vice President of the United States, members of the United State House of Representatives and United States Senate, and other federal and state government officials as appropriate.

THIS RESOLUTION WAS ADOPTED ON JULY 13, 2013, AT THE NHCSL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING HELD IN MASHANTUCKET, CONNECTICUT AND RATIFIED ON NOVEMBER 16, 2013 AT THE NHCSL ANNUAL MEETING HELD IN ORLANDO, FLORIDA.

SPONSORED BY: Speaker Jaime Perelló (PR)