04-04-2011 (Dayton, OH) -
Over one million children are abused each year in the US. One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18. In 2010, there were 4,797 child abuse and neglect investigations in Montgomery County, with 378 cases involving sexual abuse.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to raise awareness about child abuse and neglect, encourage individuals and communities to support children and families and remember that it’s important to stay informed, educated and vigilant about this difficult issue all year long.
In 2010, CARE House, a child advocacy center and partner of The Children’s Medical Center of Dayton and local law enforcement, saw 608 abused or neglected children in Montgomery County, an increase of 6% since 2008.
The CARE House staff believes that child abuse can be prevented.
Ten tips to help parents prevent or detect abuse:
- Talk to children every day about their contacts with other people. Ask them about their activities and their feelings.
- Do not “interrogate” your child, but instead create an everyday environment where communication is comfortable and natural.
- Teach your children to not keep secrets from you. Tell your children they can always tell you anything no matter what anyone else tells them.
- If your child starts to disclose sexual abuse, remain calm and ask questions such as, “Can you tell me more about that?”
- Take some time to teach your child the correct names for their body parts and which ones are their “private parts.”
- Teach your child how to say “NO” to someone who touches him or her inappropriately.
- If a person is making them feel “funny”, “uncomfortable”, “bad”, etc., teach your child to tell someone they trust.
- Listen seriously and sensitively to what your child says.
- Explain to your child that his or her body belongs to them alone.
- Be involved in your child’s activities.
“Children need protection, sometimes even from the people they should be able to trust the most,” says Libby Nicholson, director of CARE House.
Here are seven steps every parent should know to help protect children from sexual abuse:
- Learn the facts and understand the risks associated with child sexual abuse.
- Minimize the opportunity for sexual abuse to occur.
- Talk about child sexual abuse with children and adults.
- Stay alert. Recognize the behavioral and physical signs of child sexual abuse.
- Make a plan. Know how to respond to child sexual abuse.
- Act on suspicions. Be familiar with resources available in your community.
- Get involved. Make your community a safer place for children.
Several child advocacy centers exist in southwest Ohio.
- CARE House, Montgomery County (Dayton)
- Michael’s House, Greene County (Fairborn)
- Child Advocacy Center of Warren County(Middletown)
- Clark County Child Advocacy Center(Springfield)
- Mayerson Center for Safe and Healthy Children, Hamilton County (Cincinnati)
About Children’s Advocacy Centers:
A Children's Advocacy Center (CAC) is a child-focused, facility-based program in which representatives from many disciplines-law enforcement, child protection, prosecution, mental health, medical and victim advocacy-work together, conducting child interviews and making joint decisions about the investigation, treatment, management and prosecution of child abuse cases. A core belief in children's advocacy centers is that the combined wisdom and professional knowledge of professionals of different disciplines will result in a more complete understanding of case issues and the most effective, child and family focused system response. The CAC model is now considered the best practice model for the investigative and delivery of treatment services of abused and neglected children.
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