Special Projects * Statutory Rape Education


   

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    Special Projects:



    Special Projects: Statutory Rape Education:

    Countless studies show teen mothers are far less likely to graduate from high school, have a 75 percent likelihood of Welfare dependency at some time in their lives, 50 percent experience domestic violence and suffer more health complications with pregnancy. Children of teen mothers are more likely to abuse alcohol or drugs or affiliate with gangs, drop out of high school, are three times more likely to serve prison time and more likely than others to become teen parents themselves.

    The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 requires states to conduct a program designed to reach State and local law enforcement officials, the education system, and relevant counseling services, providing education and training on the problem of statutory rape so teenage pregnancy prevention programs may be expanded in scope to include men. The law shows considerable concern for the issue of teenage pregnancy and its impact on Welfare. A variety of provisions address this issue, many of them governing the conditions under which pregnant or parenting teenagers may receive welfare.

    The goals of Nevada's Statutory Rape Project are to support more aggressive enforcement of statutory rape laws in Nevada and to promote prevention of statutory rape therefore, reducing teen pregnancies.

    In 2000, the first year of the project, the University of Nevada School of Medicine, through contract with the Division of Welfare and Supportive Services, produced a training curriculum which includes a compressed video titled "In Harm's Way: Our Children and Statutory Rape". The Nevada Public Health Foundation, through contract with the University, developed and produced a two hour training curriculum, manual and compressed video designed to reach state and local law enforcement officials, the education system and relevant counseling services statewide which provide education and training on the problems of statutory rape so teenage pregnancy prevention programs may be expanded in scope to include men. They also provided a compressed video transmission for six 2-hour presentations. Training sessions offer remote satellite communication. Distance Education courses were made available via the Internet by accessing the Foundation's web site.

    In 2001, the second year of the project, the Nevada Public Health Foundation, through contract with the Division of Welfare and Supportive Services provided; technical training to local law enforcement personnel, including police, prosecutors, and judges, education systems, social services, and other relevant counseling services, to receive education and training on the problem of statutory rape. The project has also extended its efforts out to the general public to increase awareness of the extent of the statutory rape problems in order to develop a public mandate to aggressively enforce statutory rape laws. Along with the education a marketing campaign has also followed with brochures and videotapes.

    In 2002, a planned third year of the project, the Nevada Public Health Foundation, through contract with the Division of Welfare and Supportive Services, will provide technical education and assistance to professionals, including police, prosecutors, judges, victims witness advocates, social workers, teachers, other services providers and the general public to include parents and adolescents in order to increase the number of arrests and successful prosecutions for statutory rape violations and to better assist victims. A resource manual will be developed, to include experts and organizations nationwide, who can provide technical assistance to prosecutors, judges, police officers, and victim witness advocates in the investigation, prosecution, and adjudication of statutory rape cases. NPHF will continue to educate through a marketing campaign consisting brochures and videotapes. In order to further enhance victim's assistance, the Nevada Network Against Domestic Violence, through subcontract with the Nevada Public Health Foundation, will develop and deliver professional education on domestic violence training.

    In 2003, the NPHF, through contract with the Division of Welfare and Supportive Services continued to provide technical education and assistance to service providers and the general public. The project also introduced evaluations to determine if the class participants increased their knowledge as a result of participation.

    2004 - 2005 will see a continuance and expansion of services. Project goals for 2004 - 2005 include:

    • Utilize information acquired in the Statutory Rape Education Project Evaluation to improve the program and deliver additional resources for education professionals and voters of the need to enforce statutory rape laws.
    • Provide technical education and assistance to professionals, including police, prosecutors, judges, and service providers, to increase the number of arrests and successful prosecution for statutory rape violations and to better assist victims.
    • Increase reporting of statutory rape.
    • Increase victim awareness and services to reduce harm of statutory rape to the adolescent victim.
    • Increase awareness in order to generate a public mandate to aggressively enforce statutory rape laws.