The Community YMCA Offers Free Workshops & Online Training
SHREWSBURY, NJ – The Community YMCA has joined forces with YMCAs across New Jersey and the nonprofit Darkness to Light to educate adults on how to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse, which strikes one in 10 children before their 18th birthday.
Through this statewide initiative, The Community YMCA is offering Stewards of Children™ child sexual abuse prevention training to adults in Monmouth County. The award-winning training program was created by Darkness to Light to empower people to prevent child sexual abuse.
“As social responsibility is one of the Y’s key areas of focus, we are committed to developing community-based solutions that unite people to participate in and work for positive social change,” said The Community YMCA President and CEO Rhonda Anderson. “By partnering with Darkness to Light, we will educate and empower adults to become agents of change to protect children from sexual abuse.”
No-cost online training is also available for New Jersey residents now through April 23, 2014. Continuing education credits for professionals in various fields can be obtained through this training.
“Child sexual abuse is a silent epidemic that crosses every socioeconomic boundary and does not discriminate. We, as adults, need to take responsibility and protect children in our community,” Anderson said. ”By offering Stewards of Children training, the Y hopes to empower and mobilize adults to take action and prevent child sexual abuse.”
The evidence-based program is designed to increase knowledge, improve attitudes and change child protective behaviors. The training covers a 5-step action plan: learn the facts (1 in 10 children are sexually abused. Over 90% know their abuser); minimize opportunity (eliminate or reduce isolated, one-on-one situations to decrease risk for abuse); talk about it (have open conversations with children about our bodies, sex and boundaries); recognize the signs (know the signs of abuse to protect children from further harm); and react responsibly (understand how to respond to suspicions or reports of sexual abuse).
To date, The Community YMCA has trained 25 facilitators and instructors have already educated over 140 people. The Community YMCA has also made a commitment to train all of its adult full-time and part-time employees in the Stewards of Children curriculum by April 23, 2014.
Research has shown that 5% is the critical point for positive change in the community, therefore, the NJ YMCA State Alliance has a goal of training 83,000 adults by 2017. The Ys will work with local community partners including schools, volunteer groups and local government to meet their goal and help facilitate change.
“The YMCA and New Jersey YMCA State Alliance continue to be incredible partners in the fight against child sexual abuse. Their commitment to protect children in YMCA programs, facilities and in the community should serve as an inspiration to all youth serving organizations across the country,” said Jolie Logan, President and CEO of Darkness to Light.
Crime and behavioral studies have long cited child sexual abuse for its devastating impact on society. Statistics are startling:
- Experts estimate one in 10 children are sexually abused.
- Over 90% of child victims are abused by someone they know and trust.
- 73% of children do not tell anyone for at least one year. Many never tell, making this a silent epidemic that can result in lifelong consequences.
- Child sexual abuse is linked to a host of societal issues including teen pregnancy, depression, anxiety and suicide.
- Victims are three times more likely to have substance abuse issues, two times more likely to drop out of school, and are at greater risk for physical illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other serious medical conditions.
- In the U.S., alone, there are an estimated 42 million adult survivors of child sexual abuse.
- Child sexual abuse ranks second to murder as the most expensive victim crime in the U.S., where immediate and long-term costs exceed $35 billion annually.
“We can make a difference step by step, and these steps add up to happier, healthier children and stronger communities,” Anderson said.