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New York education department is revising sexual abuse guidelines

Fighting widespread sexual harassment may only be a few decades old as a legal tradition, but the harassment has been around for a lot longer. Fortunately, things have progressed from the days of casual comments and touching around the office. But many of the remaining unacceptable behaviors have become harder to spot

Allegations of sexual assault and harassment within New York City's education department has caused a new look at its policies to prevent and address problems for employees and others. Children and adults alike appear to be at risk enough for new guidelines to be introduced.

Women and girls of color appear to be at one of the highest risk levels, as well as adults and children with disabilities. The new guidelines seem to be in direct response to a string of lawsuits alleging the department's inability to control widespread abuse and harassment.

Former administrations from the department fear that one major problem is a lack of personnel who can address these issues before they affect more people.

"These are skilled educators and administrators, not seasoned investigators," said an attorney and advocate. "And the content of these investigations is unique. In law enforcement we have special investigators who take on these cases because it requires a different expertise, a different understanding of the dynamics at play."

People who are experience sexual harassment or abuse in the workplace have the right to exact satisfaction in civil court if a company's or department's response is unacceptable. An attorney can help examine a case and figure out if it should appear in court.

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