Adults Coming Together to Protect Children from Sexual Abuse

By: Mollie Shauger | Thursday, October 22, 2020 | News

Two preschool age girls hugging.

LIVINGSTON, NJ – The Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges is participating in the Five Days of Action, Oct. 26-30, 2020. The Five Days of Action is a week designed to raise awareness and inspire adults to take action to protect children from sexual abuse. 

The Y encourages adults and organizations in the community to play a vital role in making the local community a safer place for children, especially during this ever-changing environment. As our communities continue to press pause and participate in social distancing, we know that protecting kids looks different this year. Not only is our community dealing with a pandemic that is separating kids in need from the safe adults in their lives, but there are spikes in domestic violence, cries for social justice for Black lives, and more concerns about the mental health of youth and adults.

Five Days of Action will help communities and parents/caregivers take it One Day at a Time and will offer tips, tools, activities, and resources that are relevant to the current environment.

When adults know how abuse happens, see the warning signs, and respond quickly to prevent abuse, they foster a culture of child abuse prevention. Together, we can bring awareness to the issue of child sexual abuse in our communities and have important conversations around how we can all work together to prevent it from happening.

“Protecting children from sexual abuse must be the number one goal of every person who cares about the health and well-being of kids,” said Richard K. Gorab, President and CEO, Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges. “Together, we can stand up to demand that children are protected and encourage adults to make it happen in our community. It takes all of us.”

The Metro YMCAs, with support from the YMCA Guardians for Child Protection, YMCA of the USA, Darkness to Light, the Redwoods Group Foundation, and Praesidium have made materials available to help adults learn more about preventing child sexual abuse.

For more information about preventing child sexual abuse visit www.fivedaysofaction.org.

Materials are derived from YMCA of the USA’s “Know. See. Respond.” copyrighted in 2020.

To learn more about what the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges does to protect children, visit metroymcas.org

CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE STATISTICS - PROVIDED BY DARKNESS TO LIGHT

  • One in ten children will be sexually abused before their 18th
  • 90% of child sexual abuse victims know their abuser.
  • Approximately 30% of children who are sexually abused are abused by family members.
  • 60% of child sexual abuse victims never tell anyone.
  • False reports are rare. Research shows that only 4 to 8% of child sexual abuse reports are fabricated.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU BELIEVE A CHILD IS BEING ABUSED - PROVIDED BY DARKNESS TO LIGHT

  • You do not need to have proof that abuse is occurring to make a report, only reasonable suspicion. Reasonable suspicion means that you have witnessed maltreatment or boundary violations, either in the child or adult, or both. Or, you have received a disclosure from a child about abuse, neglect, or boundary violations towards them.
  • Child sexual abuse reports should be made to the police and/or state child protective services.
  • Contact the Darkness to Light Helpline at 866-FOR-LIGHT or text LIGHT to 741741 to have questions answered by trained counselors at no charge.

WAYS TO CONNECT WITH FAMILY THIS WEEK

  1. Start by having a conversation with your kids. The “What If?” Game is a great way to think about situations kids may face in life and would need to solve. Head on over to www.fivedaysofaction.org/what-if-game  to see how to get started. Here’s to Five Days focused on protecting our kids! 
  2. There is a lot going on these days – and you may feel like you don’t have everything figured out. It’s ok - take it one day at a time. If possible, connect with your kids before, during, and after online use – know who they will be with virtually, where they are going virtually, and what they will be doing. Discuss how any new scenarios, like virtual school, will affect your current rules around devices, apps, and the internet.
  3. Click here for more internet safety tips. Feel free to share this with your network and brainstorm some ground rules that apply to your family or situation. Find prevention tips and resources by checking out www.fivedaysofaction.org.
  4. With changes to your regular routines, are you looking for ways to keep your kids busy and safe at the same time? When thinking through activities, it’s important to think about the three main principles for minimizing the opportunity of abuse – preventing isolation, keeping situations interruptible, and setting expectations. Try to think about these principles as you make plans for your kids. Check out a sample daily calendar you can adapt to here
  5. Do you know how to recognize the behaviors of safe adults? Download these two worksheets created by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children – one is for adults and one is for kids
  6. Create a family code of conduct! How? Find the Family Code of Conduct Worksheet here. Topics to include:
  • How do you treat others?
  • Play dates and hangouts
  • Photos
  • Sleepovers
  • Babysitters
  • Internet & Social Media Safety

To find more tips and resources, check out www.fivedaysofaction.org.

 


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