April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month
Prevention is the best hope for reducing child abuse and neglect and improving the lives of children and families. Strengthening families and preventing child abuse requires a shared commitment of individuals and organizations in every community.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to raise awareness about child abuse and neglect and encourage individuals and communities to support children and families. Learn more about the history of the month, see examples of Presidential and State proclamations, and find strategies for engaging communities and supporting families.
- History of Prevention Month
- Proclamations and press releases
- Activities calendar
- Get involved
- 2010 Resource Guide and related materials
- Archived community resource packets
Preventing Child Sexual Abuse
According to national statistics, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birthdays…. but it doesn’t have to happen. Lampion Center, a United Way counseling agency located in Evansville, has embarked on a campaign to empower the community to learn how to prevent child sexual abuse.
As adults, it is our responsibility to protect the children in our community from sexual abuse so that they can grow up to lead healthy productive lives. They are our most precious resource.
Stewards of Children - Training to prevent Child Sexual Abuse
Lampion Center is boldly stepping forward with a comprehensive, community wide program to prevent and treat child sexual abuse. We know that child sexual abuse is prevalent in our community and across the nation. This abuse is preventable and the time to act is now.
Phase one of this project is already completed. Lampion Center sponsored twenty five individuals to become fully certified facilitators of the Stewards of Children program and, as such, they are now able to work with us to train others in pro-active strategies to protect children from sexual abuse.
Phase two involves providing training for civic groups, churches, day care centers, after school programs, other non profit agencies, and the community at large. Our media campaign will help provide awareness and prompt members of our community to get involved..
Phase three is of utmost importance- Expanding the availability of Lampion Center's treatment services to care for those who have already suffered. Lampion Center is the leader in treatment for sexually abused children, adults, and their families.
Child sexual abuse: the hidden epidemic
Child sexual abuse is a hidden but significant problem in every community in America. Experts estimate that one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. Less than one in ten will tell. Research clearly shows that individuals who are sexually abused as children, and who don't receive proper counseling, are far more likely to experience psychological problems often lasting into adulthood, including Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, depression, substance abuse and relationship problems. Child sexual abuse does not recognize region, race, creed, socio-economic status or gender; it crosses all boundaries and impacts every community.
Darkness to Light's Stewards of Children Program believes that adults should be taking proactive steps to protect children from this significant risk. It is unrealistic to think that a young child can take responsibility for fending off sexual advances by an adult. Adults are responsible for the safety of children. Adults are the ones who need to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. Yet, the statistics clearly show that adults aren’t shouldering this responsibility. Darkness to Light believes that adults just don’t know how.
What adults need to know about child sexual abuse…
It happens more than you think. A lot more - one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before their eighteenth birthday.
Less than one victim in ten will tell.
The perpetrators aren’t usually “dirty old men hiding in the bushes” - 34% of those who sexually abuse children are family members. A further 59% are friends and acquaintances of the child and his family.
Sixty Seven percent of all sexual assault victims (including adults) are children.
The median age for sexual abuse is just nine years of age.
The personal pain of child sexual abuse…
Adolescents and young adults with a history of childhood abuse are 3 times more likely to become depressed or suicidal as compared to those without such a history ( Brown, Cohen, Johnson & Smailes, 1999 )
Women with histories of childhood abuse report a greater number of physical and psychological problems, and lower ratings of their overall health than their peers ( Moeller & Bachmann, 1993 )
34% of children who are either physically or sexually abused, and 58% of children who are both physically and sexually abused meet the criteria for Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. ( Ackerman, Newton, McPherson, Jones & Dykman, 1998). Untreated, PTSD is a chronic disorder. The residual emotional, behavioral, cognitive and social symptoms persist and contribute to a host of psychiatric problems through life. ( Ferguson & Horwood, 1998 )
Adolescents and adults who are abused in childhood are significantly more likely to drink alcohol and/or use illicit drugs than their peers. Adolescents and adults who were victims of childhood maltreatment have been consistently found to be more likely to engage in high-risk sexual behaviors.
The monetary costs…
A 1996 National Institute of Justice study estimated that each year child sexual abuse in America costs the nation $23 billion.
Victims of child sexual abuse generally spend more on psychiatric care and medical services throughout their lives. Some victims of child sexual abuse require more expensive special educational services. Child sexual abuse causes lost potential and productivity. These expenses, which would not be necessary if not for sexual abuse, are a financial drain to each and every one of us.
It is the duty of adults to protect children from sexual abuse...
There are several well-known and successful programs that teach children about physical boundaries and about discerning types of touch. These programs are valuable to children. The skills learned by children in these programs have thwarted some abductions and sexual assaults. However, we must not fall into a trap of thinking that these skills are the only protection children need.
Think about it. It is unrealistic to expect a six-year old to fend off sexual advances from an adult relative. A six-year old can’t recognize sexual advances for what they are. And a six-year old has been taught to “mind” adults who are authority figures. It is unrealistic to think that a six-year old can protect himself in this situation.
Adults are responsible for the safety of children. We strap children into car seats, we walk children across busy streets and we ask our teenagers questions about where they are going and who they will be with, all to keep them safe. Adults should also be responsible for protecting children from sexual abuse.
Why don’t adults do a better job? The main reason is THEY DON’T KNOW HOW!
Research suggests that adults are unaware of effective steps they can take to protect their children from sexual abuse. Most do not know how to recognize signs of sexual abuse and many do not know what to do when sexual abuse is discovered.
LAMPION CENTER WILL HELP YOU BECOME TRAINED IN PREVENTING CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE. WE ALSO PROVIDE STATE-OF-THE-ART COUNSELING SERVICES INCLUDING EMDR. Please call for information or to schedule an appointment: 812-471-1776
For an on-line training program ($15) please go to www.Darkness2light.com, to the Stewards of Children page.