The CDC estimates more than 61,000 children are victims of sexual abuse each year. One Montana legislator is working to lower that number, starting at home.
Prairie County Commissioner Todd Devlin plans to present to the 65th Montana Legislature a National Association of Counties Resolution targeting child sexual abuse, or CSA in families. The Montana Association of Counties President said 100 percent of families are susceptible to child sexual abuse.
"My ultimate goal is to start dialogue, so we get experts at the table to direct government on how to educate families so prevention within the family is developed," Devlin said.
Devlin said he plans to introduce the NAC Resolution before Legislature on January 25, an action he hopes sets the wheels in motion toward change. In his initiative, Devlin outlines the physical and emotional damage of a child suffering abuse from those closest to them.
"CSA causes a lifetime of dramatic and costly emotional and physical issues."
Devlin also cites the large cost created by CSA cases each year.
"The fiscal cost includes the cost for the victim treatment, like counseling, the cost for the perpetrator's incarceration, and other burdens created."
In the resolution, Devlin estimates the cost to society in the United States is at least $124 billion and as high as $210 billion.
"Given the unfortunate secrecy in so many families and the devastating cost to individuals and to society, it only makes sense, from both a humanitarian and a fiscal standpoint, to prevent sexual abuse in families in the first place."
We'll be continuing to follow this issue and the resolution as it is presented to the 65th Montana Legislature on KULR-8 and kulr8.com.