One in 10 children in the U.S. will be sexually abused before the age of 18. (Townsend, C., & Rheingold, A.A., 2013).
That is a startling statistic. As part of CAPS mission to ensure that every child lives a life free from abuse and neglect, two staff were trained in 2019 in Darkness to Light’s: Stewards of Children®. Stewards of Children® has been extensively evaluated and is the only evidence-informed, adult-focused child sexual abuse training program available nationally.
Darkness to Light believes that adults are responsible for the safety of children and that adults should be taking proactive steps to protect children from sexual abuse. It is unrealistic to think that a child should be responsible for fending off sexual advances by an adult.
5 Steps to Protecting Children
- Learn the Facts
If we don’t understand child sexual abuse, we can’t end it. It is highly likely that you know a child who has been or is being abused. Experts estimate that one in 10 children are sexually abused before their 18th birthday.
- Minimize Opportunity
Safe environments can help reduce the risk for abuse. More than 80% of sexual abuse cases occur in isolated, one-on-one situations. Make sure interactions with children can be observed and interrupted.
- Talk about It
Talking openly breaks down barriers and reduces stigma. Children often keep abuse a secret, but talking openly about our bodies, sex, and boundaries can encourage children to share and feel safe
- Recognize the Signs
Signs of abuse aren’t always obvious, but they are often there. Emotional or behavioral changes are often the most common signs, rather than physical evidence. Trauma may be the root of what is typically labeled ‘bad’ or ‘diﬃcult’ behavior.
- React Responsibly
It’s our responsibility to react appropriately to suspicion, disclosure, or discovery of abuse. Only 4% to 8% of reports of all sexual abuse are false. Understand how to respond to risky behaviors and suspicions or reports of abuse.