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Program Trains Adults To Stop Sexual Abuse Of Children

By Paul Tuthill


Springfield, MA – Childsexabuse

A statewide campaign in Massachusetts is looking to educate and train adults to prevent and stop sexual abuse of children. Advocates believe child sex abuse can be prevented through a grassroots approach. WAMC"s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

Sexual abuse of children is disturbingly prevalent according to experts. Dr Stephen Boos, medical director of the Family Advocacy Center at Baystate Childrens Hospital in Springfield says surveys have found 1 in 4 women and 1 in six men were sexually abused as children, but 80 percent never reported it.
Getting more adults trained to recognize the consequences of child sex abuse from a public health perspective , how to identifty abusers, and keep children out of potentially risky situations is the goal of the " Enough Abuse " campaign. The initiative involves training community leaders, particularly people who work for or volunteer with youth service organizations. These trainers are then expected to work at the grassroots with parents and other adults who have regular contact with children.
Dr. Boos says child sexual abuse can be prevented, but it takes diligence.
Dr Boos says children , generally, do not lie when adults question them about sexual abuse.
Massachusetts Citizens for Children, the nation's oldest statewide child advocacy organization, is leading the statewide initiative to train more adults to prevent, recognize and stop child sexual abuse. The effort is supported by a 1 point 2 million dollar grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prvention, and is backed by dozens of community organizations, according to Eva Montibello, communications director for the Enough Abuse Campaign..
Greater Springfield is the fourth area of the state to be introduced to the campaign. The pre-school program, Square One, is one of the campaign's supporters. The organization's vice president of family services, Joni Beck Brewer, is hopeful for its success
Other organizations supporting the child sexual abuse prevention campaign include Head Start, the Ms Foundation, and the Springfield Housing Authority.