Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA)
In 2003, the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) was passed by the United States Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush. PREA is aimed to eliminate sexual abuse and sexual harassment in confinement facilities through a "zero-tolerance" policy, as well as through research and information gathering. As a result, National Standards to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Prison Rape (PREA Standards) were published in the Federal Register on June 20, 2012.
The Bucks County Youth Center (BCYC) has zero tolerance for any form of sexual abuse of youth under BCYC jurisdiction. This policy establishes standards in the area of prevention, detection, and response to such matters.
PREA in the Bucks County Youth Center
While PREA speaks directly to residential and detention services for BCYC, all employees, contractors, juveniles, and volunteers are expected to have a clear understanding that the Department strictly prohibits any type of sexual relationship with an individual under Department supervision and considers such a relationship a serious breach of the standards of employee conduct and contract compliance, and these relationships will not be tolerated.
BCYC ensures that all volunteers and contractors who have contact with residents have been trained on their responsibilities under the agency's sexual abuse and sexual harassment prevention, detection, and response policies and procedures. All volunteers and contractors who have contact with residents are notified of BCYC's zero-tolerance policy regarding sexual abuse and sexual harassment and informed how to report such incidents.
BCYC will ensure that all substantiated allegations of sexual abuse or harassment will be referred for investigation of child abuse and/or criminal prosecution via the Office of Children, Youth & Families and the Bucks County Detectives.
BCYC will collect incident-based data on every allegation of sexual abuse at this facility. This will include reports, investigation files and sexual abuse incident reviews. This data will be aggregated annually and a report on this data will be approved by the PREA Coordinator, Facility Director Jason Tumelty.
The data collected from these reports will also be utilized to assess and improve upon the effectiveness of our efforts to prevent, detect and respond to sexual abuse/harassment. If necessary, it will also be used to develop corrective action plans. The PREA report will be made a part of our Annual Report each year. BCYC PREA Annual Report 2022.
The National PREA Standards to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Prison Rape requires that all covered confinement facilities conduct an audit every 3-year audit cycle. BCYC obtains the assistance of an auditor certified by the US Department of Justice to conduct audits at our facility. Our most recent audit was conducted August 20th to August 21st, 2023. The center was found to be in full compliance and the final Audit Reports can be viewed in the Archive Center.