Editor’s note: This is the first installment of a new, ongoing feature where residents can ask family-related questions that will be answered by personnel at Twin Cedars Youth and Family Services. See contact information at the bottom for how to submit questions and contact Twin Cedars.
Question: I saw a statistic that 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused before they reach the age of 18. What can I do as a parent, and what can we do through our church and community to keep our children safe?
Dear Concerned Mama,
That statistic is correct, sadly, and 90 percent of those children who are victims of sexual abuse know their abuser. The greatest risk to our children doesn’t come from strangers, but from people we know and trust.
As a parent, it can be scary to know that the people we know, trust, depend on, even love could be abusing our children, and the first step in confronting this issue of child sexual abuse is being trained in Stewards of Children.
Stewards of Children is an evidence-informed two hour training curriculum for adults to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. This training is available online or in a facilitator-led format. Stewards of Children integrates three personal empowerment skills: making choices, taking risks and supporting each other. When we come together and support each other in protecting our children we produce a safer community for our children to live in.
There are many dedicated facilitators here in Troup County, and each of us are passionate in protecting our children. We can conduct these trainings at your place of employment, organization or church.
We also, as parents, need to know that the people that are working, volunteering or even mentoring our children are aware of the signs and symptoms of child sexual abuse. There has to be policies and procedures within our programs, organizations and churches so that we can better protect our children. The next step after being trained in Stewards of Children is then to become a Partner in Prevention.
Partner in Prevention is an organization that emphasizes prevention through training and appropriate policies. Training increases staff and volunteer awareness and teaches them to recognize the signs that an opportunity exists for abuse to occur, and the signs that abuse has occurred.
We all play a part in protecting our children. If you or your organization or church is interested in being trained in Stewards in Children, please contact Mckenzie Jackson at [email protected] or call 706-594-0290.
Twin Cedars Youth and Family Services may be contacted at 706-298-0050. Anyone who wants to submit a question to be answered in this column may send it to Twin Cedars, Attn: Mike Angstadt, PO Box 1526, LaGrange, GA 30241.