Statistically, one in five girls and one out of 10 boys will be victims of sexual abuse before their 18th birthday.
On Thursday, representatives from youth service organizations gathered at Pritchard Community Center in Elizabethtown for training to learn how to reduce the prevalence of child sexual abuse. Attorney General Andy Beshear kicked off the session, which his office helped organize.
“I believe in a world without child abuse. … It’s 100 percent preventable,” he said.
Representatives from the Attorney General’s Office and the nonprofit Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky led the training, which is one of 11 held across Kentucky. Organizations from around the region participated.
“I’m incredibly excited that you are here,” he said. “Without you, so many children will go unheard and unhelped.”
Kentucky’s statewide helpline is 1-800-CHILDREN, and it can offer support or encouragement and information regarding resources in local communities.
Last year, Beshear’s office launched a comprehensive statewide training to help prevent child sex abuse. He said 1,600 people from across the state were trained.
“That was just round one,” he said.
Thursday’s training was part of round two. The trainings focus on youth service organizations and give the groups tips on how to implement policies and procedures to keep children safe.
Beshear said policies and procedures could include no closed doors in the office and no one-on-one meetings with children.
Those who attended learned warning signs of child abuse and strategies for ensuring a safe environment, among other tips. They also learned interviewing techniques to detect if someone might be a perpetrator of child abuse.
“It’s important for parents to know that organizations should have policies in place,” he said.
He encouraged parents to ask about the policies.
“Parents need to know that predators look for areas of weakness,” he said.
The organizations that took part in the training will leave with policies and procedures that immediately can be put in place.
Beshear said they were not reinventing the wheel but using best practices from other organizations.
He said a third round of trainings are in the works.
“(This is) not a one-off training but a movement,” he said.