Darkness to Light exists only because organizations and individuals around the nation take responsibility for preventing child sexual abuse in their own communities. It is an issue which affects each and every one of us — and when we all come together big things can happen. Georgia is a stellar example of this, and we are excited to share with you some of the amazing work that’s been happening there.
The Georgia Initiative to prevent child sexual abuse is one of the oldest ongoing initiatives of its kind in the nation and was the first location to replicate the successful model we instituted in Charleston.
This initiative was founded by the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy in 2006. The initial goal was to build momentum for the prevention of child sexual abuse by providing Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children training to 5% of the adult population in every Georgia county. Often referred to as “tipping point,” the drive is to create a groundswell that forms the momentum for larger cultural change.
One of the most exciting aspects of the Georgia initiative is its strong partnerships with a variety of organizations, including widespread work with law enforcement, teachers, colleges, and the Boy Scouts just to name a few.
These achievements lead to continued expansion “We are growing by leaps and bounds” Tiffany Sawyer, Director of Prevention Services, explains. “We will see more than a 40% increase in training from 2013 to 2014.” Sawyer credits five regional coordinators for facilitating success.
In addition to working directly with counties, the Georgia Initiative advocates for policy reform. For instance, the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice has mandated training for all employees, and the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning has set the Stewards of Children program as a standard for training.
According to Sawyer, “Stewards of Children is also a great complement to existing community initiatives, and creates a sense of ownership – we’re all doing something to better our community. We can all work together on this because we all have a responsibility to protect children.”
Georgia should not be alone in the extensive efforts they’ve made to end child sexual abuse. We hope they become an example for other communities and states across the nation.
To everyone in Georgia working to end child sexual abuse, we applaud your efforts. Thank you for all that you are doing to protect children.
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