Paris Hilton testifies before US Congress about child abuse

Paris Hilton called for changes to youth treatment facilities and described her own traumatic experience of alleged abuse before a US Congressional committee.

The American socialite and businesswoman said staff “forced her to take medication and sexually abused her” after she was sent to a private youth center in Utah as a teenager.

His testimony sheds light on the so-called “troubled teen industry.”

While some children are placed with relatives or foster families, others are sent to treatment centers that are essentially group homes for children, some of whom have complex medical or behavioral needs.

Hilton, 43, accused the industry, worth billions of dollars, of being more interested in making money than protecting and caring for the vulnerable children for which it is responsible.

The former reality TV star is a vocal advocate for children in juvenile facilities, as well as those in the foster care system. She has previously spoken about her own experience through a book, a documentary and interviews.

Hilton says that when she was 16, strangers dragged her out of her bed in the middle of the night. Her school grades had been declining and her parents were worried about her behavior.

But they “had no idea” what the facility was really like and “were continually lied to and manipulated by staff,” Hilton told the committee.

“They thought it would be a normal boarding school,” he said. “And when I got there, there was no therapy. They were calling us names, calling us names, and yelling at us constantly.”

All of her communication with the outside world was monitored and someone was always there when she spoke to her parents on the phone, Hilton testified.

“So if I said even one negative thing about the facility, they would immediately hang up the phone and then punish me and physically beat me or put me in solitary confinement,” he said.

Hilton said the “inhumane” treatment she suffered will affect her for the rest of her life.

She is urging US lawmakers to pass a bill, called the Stop Institutional Child Abuse Act.

The problematic teen industry would be managed at the federal level, so that abuse reporting systems were more transparent and accountable. There would also be national guidance on best practices in centres, so that children’s diverse needs could be recognized and respected.

TO new report Department of Health and Human Services found that many U.S. states do not adequately track how children are treated in these facilities or record cases of abuse.

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