YMCA of Natrona County campaign promotes awareness and prevention of child sexual abuse | #childabuse | #children | #kids

Community members gather for a photo after planting pinwheels at the Children’s Advocacy Project to raise awareness for “Child Abuse Prevention Month” in 2019.

CASPER, Wyo — The YMCA of Natrona County is encouraging adults and organizations in the community to recognize steps they can take to prevent child sexual abuse during the Five Days of Action campaign next week,  October 26-30.

“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,” said Risa Phillips, senior membership director at the Y in a press release Friday.

“Five Days of Action will help communities and parents and care givers 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,” Phillips said.

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The YMCA of Natrona County, 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.

From the release:

Child sexual abuse statistics (provided by Darkness to Light) 

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

“Together, we can stand up to demand that children are protected and encourage adults to make it happen in our community,” Phillips said. “It takes all of us.” 

 For more information about preventing child sexual abuse visit www.fivedaysofaction.org. Materials are derived from YMCA of the USA’s “Know. See. Respond.”

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