Preventing Child Sexual Abuse-An Adult’s Responsibility

May 2, 2011

In the past thirty years the field of investigation, identification, and treatment for children who have experienced sexual abuse has progressed and changed tremendously.  But child sexual abuse prevention had remained relatively unchanged—teach kids about good touch/bad touch, tell them to say no, and teach them to tell a trusted adult if something happens.  But this set of strategies puts a weighty burden on the slender shoulders of children.  Most people who sexually abuse children are not only known to the child but trusted by the child and their family.  Teens and adults who abuse children can easily confuse and shame a child into silence.  Most victims of child sexual abuse do not disclose their abuse; leaving the victims to struggle alone with the emotional fall-out from the abuse.

Darkness to Light has developed a child sexual abuse prevention training, Stewards of Children, that puts the burden of preventing child sexual abuse on the shoulders of adults.  Stewards of Children aims to teach the facts about child sexual abuse and increase the protective behaviors of adults.  It encourages adult participants to learn the facts about child sexual abuse, to review the policies and procedures of the child serving agencies and communities of which they are a part, and encourages all child serving staff know what to do if a child discloses abuse to them.

The reality of child sexual abuse is hard to face in both its prevalence (some experts estimate that 1-4 girls and 1-6 boys are sexually abuse before their 18th birthday) and its impact.  The Chapel Hill-Carrboro and the Chatham YMCA, North Carolina has decided to face the harsh reality of child sexual abuse and has started the YMCA Community Coalition for Awareness and Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse.  Community awareness meetings (Prevent Now!, one hour) are available as well as Darkness to Light prevention training, Stewards of Children, (2.5-3 hours) for interested community groups (day/evening and weekend training available).

Training is offered to community groups, parent groups, grand-parents, all organizations that serve children and youth (paid staff and/or volunteer), church congregations, every employee in school districts, coaches, law enforcement, etc.  All adults.

The program is used by organizations that need to respond to insurance requirements regarding child protection, and by individuals in the community who are concerned about the care and protection of children.

The time to seek Stewards of Children training is before an abuse report has been made, not after a crisis occurs.  Organizations and parents always think that if it hasn’t happened to them, they don’t need it, but that’s precisely who needs it.  Training should occur before you need it.  You take it to make sure you don’t have a problem.

By working together, a community can change the ugly imprint of child sexual abuse by reducing the number of victims and supporting families and children who have experienced child sexual abuse.

Contributor: Facilitator, Lisa Lackmann

Take care and STAY SAFE!

  1. May 2, 2011 at 10:22 AM

    You are so right! Parents have to be aware that knowing your child, having open communication with your child, and having awareness of who the people are in your child’s life are the best defense. A child can not know how to keep themselves safe! And when we put it on them, then the child believes that it’s their own fault that something bad has happened. Keep up the great work.

  2. July 7, 2011 at 12:36 PM

    U all so very good post..

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