YMCAs promoting child protection during National Child Abuse Prevention Month

SIDNEY – The Sidney-Shelby County YMCA is marking Child Abuse Prevention Month with Five Days of Action, April 22-26, 2019. Leading up to Healthy Kids Day — a national initiative to improve the health and well-being of kids — Five Days of Action focuses on preventing child sexual abuse by sharing tips on how adults can prevent child sexual abuse.

During April and all year long, the Sidney-Shelby County YMCA encourages adults and organizations in the community to play a vital role in making Sidney and Shelby County a safer place for children. This year’s Five Days of Action theme is “Know. See. Respond.” 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, citizens can bring awareness to the issue of child sexual abuse in their communities and have important conversations around how everyone 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 Ed Thomas, CEO at the Sidney-Shelby County YMCA. “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 Sidney-Shelby County YMCA and the YMCA Guardians for Child Protection, with support from 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. These materials will be available at the Y’s annual Healthy Kids Day on Saturday, April 27, 2019, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Sidney-Shelby County YMCA, 300 E. Parkwood St, in Sidney. Healthy Kids Day is a free, fun family event open to everyone in the community.

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 2019.

The Darkness to Light organization has provided the following child sexual abuse statistics:

• One in 10 children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday.

• 90 percent of child sexual abuse victims know their abuser.

• Approximately 30 percent of children who are sexually abused are abused by family members.

• 60 percent of child sexual abuse victims never tell anyone.

• False reports are rare. Research shows that only 4 to 8 percent of child sexual abuse reports are fabricated.

Darkness to Light has provided some guidlines on what to do if you believe a child is being abused.

• 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.

Darkness to Light is a nonprofit organization with the mission to empower adults to prevent child sexual abuse through awareness, education, and stigma reduction. Darkness to Light’s flagship program, Stewards of Children, is an evidence-informed, award-winning training that teaches adults to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. More than 1.7 million adults have been trained using Darkness to Light trainings. For more information, visit www.D2L.org.

The Redwoods Group Foundation supports programs that can change the world and helps them reach more people than ever before, through funding and backbone support. They currently focus on child sexual abuse prevention, drowning prevention and growing the field of social entrepreneurship. For more information, visit www.redwoodsgroup.com/about-us/redwoods-group-foundation.

Praesidium specializes in preventing sexual abuse in organizations that serve youth and vulnerable adults. Over a period in excess of 25 years, the company has reviewed over 4,000 cases of abuse within organizations to determine the root causes of sexual abuse within organizational settings. Praesidium employs more than 40 staff, including licensed social workers, lawyers, psychologists, health care researchers, and other experts.