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Every Child Matters – April 13

By Staff | Apr 13, 2016

Unfortunately, ANY child is at risk of sexual abuse! It can affect any child regardless of age, gender, family income, culture, race, religion, physical appearance, sexuality, disability, etc. Hoping, denying, or pretending that this can’t happen to a child is not lowering the child’s risk of being sexually abused. The reality of child sexual abuse is a terrifying concept – but it’s something that every parent needs to face because knowledge is power.

Did you know that most child victims suffer abuse at the hands of someone they know and trust? Someone that YOU know and trust? We teach our kids not to talk to strangers… but how do we teach them to be safe around the people that they trust – and that we trust. The first step to preventing abuse against children is awareness and education. As more parents, professionals and community members learn about the realities of child abuse, the effort to combat this serious problem gains momentum.

Taking these 5 steps in family and youth settings creates safer communities and helps protect the wellbeing of the children we love.

– Learn the Facts: 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before the age of 18.

– Minimize opportunity: More than 80 percent of sexual abuse cases occur in isolated, one-on-one situations. Also, learn as much as you can about the issues of Internet safety.

– Talk about it: Children often keep abuse a secret. Teach your children that the parts of their body that a bathing suit covers are private parts and that no one is allowed to see or touch them there.

– Recognize the signs: Often the signs are emotional or behavioral, not physical. Be vigilant and ASK questions!

– React responsibly: Learn how to offer support and report suspicion immediately.

Want to know more? I will be presenting “Child Sexual Abuse: The 5 steps to protecting our children” at the Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce “Lunch & Learn” event on Tuesday, April 26, noon in room 110 at WVNCC, New Martinsville Campus. Cricket Web Services will also be present to discuss protecting your children on the internet. RSVP to 304-455-3825 or by email: chamber@wetzel

countychamber.com .