Sexual Abuse victims are not alone and they have rights, if and when they are ready to pursue them. At Farmer Jaffe Weissing, we want to empower victims to come forward, report crimes and hold perpetrators accountable; thereby educating the community and inspiring others to do the same.
There are various national and international exchange student programs and study abroad programs for
students. These exchange programs allow teenagers and students the opportunity to study nationally and internationally, experience a new culture, learn a new language and gain lifelong connections.
The State Department regulates more than 80 organizations that place foreign teens in American homes while they study at American high schools. Many of the exchange programs have students living with a host family.
An investigation by NBC News found that dozens of high school foreign exchange students have been raped, sexually abused, or harassed by American host parents in towns and cities across the country. The report found two major flaws:
The Associated Press reported that the State Department programs that bring foreign exchange students to the United States to work or attend school require urgent attention because students are being put at risk for abuse, according to a report from the federal Inspector General's office. The State Department has received 118 complaints of sexual abuse since the 2010 school year. In 2010 the State Department abandoned a plan to require FBI-based fingerprint searches for people hosting foreign high school exchange students — even though the agency received dozens of complaints from students who said they were sexually and physically abused in recent years.
It’s important to note that these abuses can also occur with American students studying abroad. Risk is an inevitable part of studying abroad. No student exchange program can guarantee 100% safety. Families, parents and student’s perceptions need to match the reality as to what colleges, high schools and exchange programs believe they are responsible for in ensuring the safety of the exchange student.
Families and students should make sure they research their countries of interested and look at their safety records. They should also research the program provider for their safety records and understand what their safety responsibilities are. Remember there are no federal regulations stipulating what safety precautions or procedures that exchange program providers must provide to students. Also make sure the student knows the signs of sexual harassment and how to prevent sexual assault and what to do if sexually assaulted.
Here are some helpful resources for families:
If you or a loved one was sexually abused, raped or sexually molested, by host family member, program representative or other while a part of an exchange program, contact our sexual abuse / victim’s rights attorneys to discuss your legal rights.