July 16, 2024

Paris Hilton is opening up about her experience with past abuse as she continues to advocate for legislation that better protects children from suffering institutional abuse.

On Wednesday, the actor, singer, DJ and model said that she will “be the voice for the children whose voices can’t be heard” and will “not stop until America’s youth is safe” as she urged congressional action to protect child welfare while testifying at a House committee hearing on Wednesday.

Appearing before the House Ways and Means Committee for a hearing focused on foster care and the reauthorization of Title IV-B of the Social Security Act – which provides resources to states to promote child welfare – Hilton said that “families need resources and support so they don’t need to come into the child welfare system in the first place.”

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Hilton has been an outspoken advocate on child welfare issues and has previously said that she experienced physical and emotional abuse at a boarding school for troubled teens in her 2020 documentary “This is Paris” and her 2023 memoir “Paris: The Memoir.”

She has said that she still suffers from PTSD from her time at the institution.

She testified about her experience on Wednesday, telling the committee that when she was 16 years old, “I was ripped from my bed in the middle of the night and transported across state lines to the first of four youth residential treatment facilities.”

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“I was force-fed medications and sexually abused by the staff. I was violently restrained and dragged down hallways, stripped naked, and thrown into solitary confinement. My parents were completely deceived – lied to and manipulated by this for-profit industry about the inhumane treatment I was experiencing,” she said.

“So can you only imagine the experience for youth who are placed by the state and don’t have people regularly checking in on them?”

“As a mom, these stories break my heart,” Hilton, now a mother of two, also said at the hearing.

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Hilton has visited Washington DC to advocate for child safety in the past, including a 2022 visit where, according to a White House official, she met with White House policy staff and other survivors to discuss “issues pertinent to the protection of institutionalized youth in America.”

“What I experienced at these places, I will never forget,” Hilton told CNN’s Brianna Keiler during a 2022 interview.

“It has affected me and will affect me for the rest of my life and that’s why I am fighting for change so no child ever has to suffer in the name of treatment.”

Support is available from the National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service at 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732).

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