Child sexual abuse is preventable (Teton Valley News Idaho)

Categories: Other

By: Susie Fenger

Our community has recently been made aware of child sexual abuse cases that are being accommodated in our courts and brought to the public’s attention through local media. These cases provide an opportunity for all of us to learn more about this abuse and how to keep our children safe.

Child sexual abuse is more common than you think. It is estimated 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. This is a mind boggling and frightening statistic put out by the U.S. Department of Justice. It refers to every American town, even ours.

The good news is child sexual abuse is preventable. It can be avoided if adults take steps to assure children are not put in environments where sexual abuse could occur. Think of all the children we can save from experiencing abuse if we take the time to learn about preventing it.

Family Safety Network’s Stewards of Children child sexual abuse prevention program is a training program for all adults. This nationally recognized, evidence-based program is proven to protect children from experiencing child sexual abuse. It is endorsed by the National Crime Prevention Council and is currently the basis of a statewide prevention initiative through the Idaho Children’s Trust Fund.

The program provides adults the facts about child sexual abuse. It opens our eyes to the fact that over 95 percent of predators are individuals our children know and trust, not the scary monster in the bushes. With these facts in mind, the Stewards of Children program teaches us specific ways to protect our children by monitoring our schools, churches, childcare providers and even family members to assure our children are not exposed to sexual predators.

Here’s what you can do today to keep your children safe:

  • Learn the facts and understand the risks. Be aware of the significant threat children face from child sexual abuse. Make decisions for children based on these risks rather than your level of trust in others.
  • Minimize opportunity. By eliminating or reducing one adult-one child situations, you’ll dramatically lower your child’s risk of sexual abuse.
  • Talk about it. Children often keep abuse a secret. Barriers can be broken down by talking openly.
  • Stay alert. Don’t expect obvious signs to be present when a child is being sexually abused. Signs are often emotional or behavioral. Be alert in order to recognize these signs.
  • Make a plan. Learn where to go, who to call and how to react if you suspect a child is being sexually abused.
  • Act on suspicions. Be brave enough to act. Being a silent bystander contributes to a lifetime of emotional problems for a child victim.
  • Get involved. Volunteer, use your voice and your vote to make our community a safer place for children.

Call Family Safety Network if you are interested in taking the Stewards of Children training or hosting it in your business, organization, church or neighborhood. Knowing that we can make a difference in preventing child sexual abuse is powerful when we take the time to learn and are courageous enough to act.

Contact us at (208) 354-8057 or for more information.

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