Free Help to Protect Children During a Crisis

Almost every April, I devote one blog post to stopping child sexual abuse. It’s a significant departure from the nonprofit and fundraising topics I typically write about. So, let me tell you why I do it.

First, April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and I want to support that initiative.

Second, many years ago, I served on a jury that heard a child sex abuse case involving a little boy and his step-grandfather. I’ll spare you the horrifying, nightmarish details. Suffice it to say, we found the step-grandfather guilty. When my jury service was completed, what I had heard continued to haunt me.

Before the trial, I assumed that child molesters and rapists were either priests or trench-coat wearing guys in vans. I also believed that incidents of such abuse were relatively rare. The news media coverage at the time would lead most people to a similar belief. However, during the trial, I learned differently:

  • 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused before turning 18;
  • 1 in 7 girls, and 1 in 25 boys are sexually abused before turning 18;
  • 20 percent of sexually abused children are under age 8;
  • 90 percent of children know their abuser (in other words, the abuser is not a stranger);
  • 50 percent of sexually abused children under the age of 6 were abused by a family member (the younger the child the more likely the abuser is a member of the family).

As I continued to process my jury experience, I researched the organizations that were addressing the issue. As a result, I became closely involved with the work of the Philadelphia Children’s Alliance, a regional child advocacy center. PCA does fantastic work bringing justice and healing to sexually abused children.

I also became acquainted with Darkness to Light®, which provides superb training programs and funds scholarly research related to the issue of child sexual abuse. Now, I want to make you aware of one particular FREE, 30-minute online training that D2L is offering: Protecting Children During a Crisis.

As the D2L website says:

We need to be prepared to continue protecting kids to the best of our ability under any circumstances. The Protecting Children During a Crisis online training is designed to help you navigate through the unusual circumstances you might face during times of crisis. This change is any situation where you need to modify the steps you take to protect your children because of a situation that is out of your control. This training will help you consider your current strategies, help you identify the new situation, and help you change your strategy.”

Through the training, D2L will help you to:

  • Determine potential changes that could disrupt your existing daily life, resulting in new situations that will pose new challenges in prevention.
  • Identify which prevention strategies in the 5 Steps to Protecting Children™ will likely change or could be heightened based on an existing or potential crisis in your own life.
  • Develop personalized strategies to use when potential crisis situations become a reality.

Here is what you’ll get:

  • A 30-minute program you can take on your own schedule.
  • A crisis plan worksheet designed to help reinforce key concepts and help you plan for existing or potential changes to your normal life and routine.
  • Featured video clips from a prevention advocate and child sexual abuse survivor.
  • Downloadable Family Code of Conduct Worksheet, which details different scenarios, as well as strategies to help guide child sexual abuse prevention within those scenarios.
  • Examples of scenarios of what your normal was and how you may need to pivot.
  • A deep dive into the three main principles of minimizing the opportunity for abuse – preventing isolation, keeping situations interruptible, and setting expectations.

To learn more about this free training program and to register, click here.

To learn more about child sexual abuse statistics, click here.

As adults, it’s up to us to keep children safe. Here are just two things you can do now: 1) register for the Darkness to Light free training program, and 2) share this post with others who can benefit.

If you suspect a case of child sex abuse and want to know what to do about it, there are two helplines that can help guide you through the reporting process. They have staff specifically trained to deal with questions about suspected child sexual abuse. Call Darkness to Light’s Helpline, 1-866-FOR-LIGHT to be routed to resources in your own community, or call the ChildHelp USA National Child Abuse Hotline, 1-800-4-A-CHILD.

While one in ten children are sexually abused, it does not have to be that way. Together, we can and must do more to protect more children. Will you do your part?

That’s what Michael Rosen says… What do you say?

3 Comments to “Free Help to Protect Children During a Crisis”

  1. During this Stay Home period, I have been thinking about children who live with an abusive relative, children who used to be able to escape the abuse by going to school and after-school activities and to friends’ houses, but who are now imprisoned with no hope of escape. My heart breaks for them. Thank you for raising awareness.

    • Madeline, thank you for your heartfelt comment. Child sex abuse is a crime that exists in the shadows. Part of eradicating it involves shining a light on the subject. While there are amazing professionals addressing the issue, we all have a vital role to play. Thank you for recognizing that.

  2. Reblogged this on Communicate! and commented:
    It’s a matter of life and death to be aware of domestic sexual abuse during this pandemic, when so many children are locked in with their families.

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