There are hundreds of children who need your protection and involvement. Help us end this cruelty in Southwestern Michigan.
Prevention starts at home.
Protecting children from sexual abuse is the responsibility of adults who are emotionally and intellectually equipped to prevent this tragedy. Darkness to Light, a grassroots national non-profit organization, provides the following five preventive steps for parents and other adults concerned with child safety. This program is also available in Spanish. (Este programa también está disponible en español.)
Learn the facts.
Understand the risks. Realities – not trusts – should influence your decisions regarding children. Over 90% of sexually abused children are abused by someone known by the child or family.
If you eliminate or reduce potential for children to be in isolated, one-on-one situations with adults or other youth, you dramatically reduce risk.
Talk about it.
Children often keep abuse a secret, but barriers can be broken down by talking openly about topics like body safety, sex, and boundaries. One of the best defenses against child sexual abuse is our relationship with children.
Recognize the Signs.
Don’t expect obvious signs when a child is being sexually abused. Signs are often there, but you have to know what to look for. Emotional or behavioral signals are more common, and may range from “too perfect behavior” to anger and rebellion.
Disclosure, discovery, and suspicions of sexual abuse provide opportunities to intervene on behalf of a child.
There are 39 million survivors of child sexual abuse in America today. When children, parents and concerned community members refuse to keep quiet about child sexual abuse, things happen. While we are all outraged by the need for hundreds of children to come annually to our Children’s Assessment Center, we are heartened that they are no longer going unseen, unheard, and unprotected.
You can help.
You can donate to the Berrien County Council for Children in support of the Children’s Assessment Center or the development of our facility. You can bring items to us from our wish list. You can advocate or volunteer for the CAC’s programs. You can encourage your school or other organizations involved with children to adopt strong policies and training programs that will heighten awareness among responsible adults.
And you can immediately report any suspected incidence of child sexual abuse or neglect based on your observations that something is wrong.