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Child Sexual Abuse Prevention in Education
As a provider of education for children and youth, your organization can play a critical role in protecting the lives of children. You can help put an end to child sexual abuse by implementing a comprehensive child protection program and training your staff, educators, and volunteers. Ask any school that has experienced a case of sexual abuse and they will tell you that knowing what they know now, there is NO amount of time that would have been too great to spend on prevention and educating their staff and volunteers.
As an education provider you have the opportunity to set a new standard within your community. Make the commitment for the long term well being of your institution and for the precious children in your care. You can be a leader to your community as well as a leader among others in education by setting a higher standard and showing that you will do whatever it takes to keep children safe when they are with you.
"Because of the training, the teacher knew what to look for and, more importantly, knew what action steps to take to protect the child, who was later determined to have been sexually abused. The more teachers and staff we educate, the closer we move to being able to prevent child sexual abuse from happening altogether."
— Dr. Jim Rex, South Carolina Department of Education Superintendent
A School System in Action
In an average sized classroom of 30 students, anywhere from 6-8 boys and girls could be victims of child sexual abuse before their high school graduation. If these children choose to disclose their painful stories of abuse, they will more often than not tell the trusted teacher at the front of the room. How then, should the teacher react? Who should the teacher report the abuse to? What signs and symptoms of abuse did the teacher fail to notice?
In South Carolina, over 19,000 educators not only know the answer to these questions, but apply this knowledge in their classrooms. In 2009 the South Carolina Department of Education worked with Darkness to Light to set a national record, training more than 40-percent of the state’s teachers, administration and staff in Stewards of Children prevention training. Dr. Jim Rex, S.C. Department of Education Superintendent pointed out immediate results through teacher awareness. "We had a teacher who noticed a student’s behavior matched several of the warning signs," said Dr. Rex. "Because of the training, the teacher knew what to look for and, more importantly, knew what action steps to take to protect the child, who was later determined to have been sexually abused. The more teachers and staff we educate, the closer we move to being able to prevent child sexual abuse from happening altogether," he said.
This educator initiative will positively effect the lives of South Carolina children for years to come. When educators are armed with the tools to recognize, react and respond responsibly to child sexual abuse, they are not only creating a brighter future for the children in their classrooms, but for society as a whole.