National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse

National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse

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NAASCA Highlights

EDITOR'S NOTE: Occasionally we'll present Opinions and Editorials meant to cause thought provoking discussions to explain NAASCA positions on issues related to child abuse and trauma .. and its prevention, intervention and recovery.

We hope in doing so we will inform, and engage, the community ...
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EDITOR'S NOTE:  The following is an OP-ED of a proposed agreement between the US Department of Justice and all the children of America. At NAASCA this is the kind of thing we'd like to see one day coming out of the DOJ. This matter would be handled by the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice in Washington on behalf of the Civil Rights of all our children (and any of us who may have at one time BEEN children).

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
  (202) 514-2007
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UNITED STATES REACHES AGREEMENT WITH AMERICA'S CHILDREN TO RESOLVE DISCRIMINATION BASED ON AGE
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WASHINGTON The United States entered into a settlement agreement with the Children of America to resolve an exhaustive investigation into allegations of discrimination against them based solely on their age. Under the agreement, the country will take all the necessary steps to ensure that all children, whose age alone has previously separated them into a discriminated group, be treated like all other American citizens, afforded all constitutional rights enjoyed by adults. These rights and corrective measures shall also extend to all American adults who once were American children.

The agreement, joined by the Department of Justice's Office for Civil Rights, resolves a complaint which alleged that the country had prohibited its children (here-in defined as from birth to 18 years of age) from enjoying the same Civil Rights afforded any American citizen. These include (but are not exhausted by) public and personal safety, access to public services, equal educational opportunities, full heath care rights, and protection from predictors and childhood trauma, and makes it unlawful for an individual, a private group, a state or local government agency to discriminate against a child because of his or her young age in regard to procedures, life conditions or the privileges and rights enjoyed by all American citizens.

It also imposes an obligation to make available reasonable recovery services and health care accommodations available for individuals who are now adults, but who experienced discrimination as described here-in during the time of their youth. It is also illegal to treat a child or adult survivor of child abuse and trauma adversely, and provides a legal framework designed to promote and protect the full range of Civil Rights to which each child is entitled, irrespective of the child's age or his or her parent's or legal guardian's race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability or other status.

Children's rights are violated or left unfulfilled in ways in which those of adults are not. This is a result of systemic discrimination - direct or indirect - against children. American children face discrimination in comparison to adults because of their dependence on adults and adults' reluctance to give them more decision-making power as they develop the ability to exercise it themselves.

Besides experiencing discrimination as a group ('age-based discrimination'), children face discrimination on other grounds such as their gender, disability, or sexual orientation, and sometimes because of a combination of reasons, based either on their identity or the identity of their parents. But all forms of Civil Rights discrimination against children are exacerbated by virtue of their age and vulnerability which means they have fewer opportunities for challenging discrimination because, for example, they do not have access to courts and complaints mechanisms on an equal basis with adults.

While some limited differential treatment based on age might be argued as necessary to guarantee children's protection, in many cases children's age and relative lack of experience is used as a justification for denying them rights to which they are entitled. In other words, children face exclusion and unfair treatment because of the low status accorded to childhood, simply because of their age.

Under the settlement agreement the DOJ will: 

work to uphold the civil rights of all Americans, including all American children, and will creating a safe, nondiscriminatory atmosphere for protecting and serving the needs of children in the same measure afforded all other Americans;

assist all who were abused and traumatized as American children, but are now American adults, find paths to recovery and healing, and will dedicate its resources to include avenues for such services as reparations for past civil rights offences experienced in youth;

amend its policies and procedures to reflect that age-based discrimination, including discrimination based on a the inability of children to, on their own, and simply because of their young age, enjoy all the same constitutional rights as any other group; and

train individuals, teachers, administrators and government employees at all levels on preventing age-based discrimination of children and creating a nondiscriminatory social and legal environment for American children equal to those assured to all Americans.

The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, created in 1957 by the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1957, works to uphold the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans, particularly some of the most vulnerable members of our society. The Division enforces federal statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, disability, religion, familial status and national origin.

Since its establishment, the Division has grown dramatically in both size and scope, and has played a role in many of the nation's pivotal civil rights battles. Division attorneys prosecuted the defendants accused of murdering three civil rights workers in Mississippi in 1964, and were involved in the investigations of the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Medgar Evers. The Division enforces a wide array of laws that protect the civil rights of all individuals.

Additional information about the Civil Rights Division is available on its web site:

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www.justice.gov/crt
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HOME
why we started this site
RECOVERY
together we can heal
RESOURCES
help stop child abuse
ABOUT
a little about us
CONTACT
join us, get involved