The Hunterdon County YMCA is holding what they call “Five Days of Action” from April 16 to 20, which will include teaching parents and adults how to prevent child sexual abuse.
Executive Director Bruce Black hopes the community will get behind this effort.
“I have been in the work of the Y for a long time and protecting children from sexual abuse has to be our No. 1 goal,” he said. “Every person who cares about the health and wellbeing of kids should be aware of what we are doing here in this community.”
What to teach kids
The YMCA says parents should teach their young children about the parts of their body.
“This will give your child words to use when he/she needs to tell you anything about his/her body,” according to the nonprofit’s informational literature from Praesidium, a company that helps organizations prevent child abuse.
Parents should also tell their children that people should not touch their private areas unless their parents know about it.
If someone tries to touch them, the child should know to say no, walk away and tell their parents or some other adult they trust.
Adults can look for warning signs of potential abuse such as unusual comments or a sudden change in behavior.
If a child tells a parent about sexual abuse, the parent should remain calm, comfort the child, listen to the child, refrain from criticizing the person the child has accused, and call police.
Boundaries with children
Child molesters can violate physical boundaries by being overly affectionate or horse-playing, as well as violate emotional boundaries sometimes by picking favorites, spending too much time with them, getting too personal or making them feel important.
Other boundary violations include keeping secrets, showing pornography, or sharing drugs and alcohol.
Adults who feel that a volunteer or worker has been inappropriate should bring it to the attention of that person’s supervisor or call the police.