|Posted:||February 17, 2022 01:08 PM|
|From:||Representative Natalie Mihalek|
|To:||All House members|
|Over the past decade, an alarming number of sexual assaults have occurred on common carriers that provide paratransit services on behalf of handicapped and disabled children. The great majority of these sexual assaults were perpetrated against children who were left alone with their abusers: the paratransit service drivers who were entrusted to provide necessary transportation services for these children. In comparison to children without disabilities, studies have shown that disabled children are at a much greater risk of suffering sexual abuse. According to the Vera Institute of Justice and Ms. Foundation for Women, children with physical disabilities are close to three times more likely to suffer sexual abuse while children with intellectual disabilities are close to five times more likely to suffer sexual abuse.
In order to increase protections to this vulnerable population, I intend to introduce legislation -similar to House Bill 1866 from the 2015-16 legislative session (Costa) - to require the presence of a third party in the facility of any paratransit service provider that is transporting a minor with a handicap or disability.
I hope you will join me in cosponsoring this important legislation to better protect the children of this Commonwealth.
Introduced as HB2371