Sexual Violence Prevention
The Washington State Legislature recognizes that every child should experience emotional and physical development that is free from abuse and neglect. Preventing sexual abuse of students in grades kindergarten through twelve requires defining and addressing the wide range of behaviors and experiences related to sexual violence, such as child sexual abuse, sexual assault, and sex trafficking.
Sexual Harassment and Assault
For more information about laws and what to do when students have experienced harassment, intimidation, bullying, and sexual assault at school please see our Equity and Civil Rights webpage.
Mandatory Reporting of Abuse & Neglect
Child Protective Services (CPS) offices in local communities are responsible for receiving and investigating reports of suspected child abuse and neglect. Local CPS personnel receive reports and assess them to determine whether each report meets the legal definition of abuse or neglect and how dangerous the situation is. During the time of Covid-19, school staff and community-serving organizations are not in regular or close contact with young people. Some families need assistance to keep their children and youth safe. If you suspect abuse or neglect, you should call DCYF as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours after you become aware of suspected abuse. Any person who has cause to believe that a child has suffered abuse or neglect should report such concerns.
- People legally required to report suspected or known child abuse or neglect
- School personnel
- Medical practitioners
- Social service counselors/therapists
- Medical examiners
- Child care providers
- Law enforcement officers
- Juvenile probation officers
- Corrections employees
- DSHS employees
- DCYF employees
- Placement and liaison specialists
- Responsible living skills program staff
- HOPE center staff
- State family and children's ombudsman
- Any volunteer in the ombudsman's office
- Adults residing with child suspected to have been severely abused
- Regional Reporting and Abuse Prevention Information and Posters
- Region 1 Poster–Serving Chelan, Douglas, Okanogan, Grant, Ferry, Lincoln, Adams, Pend Orielle, Spokane, Whitman, Garfield, and Asotin counties
- Region 2 Poster–Serving Kittitas, Yakima, Klickitat, Benton, Franklin, Walla Walla, and Columbia counties
- Region 3 Poster–Serving Whatcom, Skagit, and Snohomish counties
- Region 4 Poster–Serving King county
- Region 5 Poster–Serving Pierce and Kitsap counties
- Region 6 Poster–Serving Clallam, Jefferson, Mason, Grays Harbor, Thurston, Pacific, Lewis, Wahkiakum, Cowlitz, Skamania, and Clark counties
YES! is a community-level intervention program, rather than an individual- or relationship-level, designed to incorporate youth input concerning school climate and culture into community-level primary prevention strategies. It also aims to create protective environments and reduce rates of sexual violence victimization and perpetration within school communities.
SHB 1539 (Erin’s Law), passed by the WA legislature in 2018, addresses child sexual abuse prevention in Washington state schools. The bill named the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) as the lead agency tasked with reviewing curricula and assisting the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) with developing a coordinated program for the prevention of child sexual abuse in grades K-12.
Erin's Law Report
School-based prevention strategies for different types of sexual abuse vary considerably, depending on the age of the child receiving prevention services, the type of sexual abuse being addressed, and community and cultural contexts. Ultimately, all prevention strategies address power and control. OSPI uses sexual abuse as an umbrella term that includes the range of sexual abuse that may occur throughout childhood and adolescence.