“Stewards of Children,” a child sexual abuse preventive program, was presented to adults from a variety of area agencies who provide services to children Tuesday at the First Presbyterian Church of LaGrange,.
The program introduced and reinforced practical steps that adults could take to help them to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.
This program was offered through the partnership of the Governor’s Office for Children and Families and the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy, working with Darkness to Light, an international nonprofit organization. The “Stewards of Children” course is approved for three hours of continuous education by both the National Association of Social Workers, and the National Board for Certified Counselors. The two facilitators of the program were very knowledgeable and skilled in the presentation of the day’s informative, and at times sensitive, material.
The Director of Prevention for the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy, Tiffany Sawyer, started the program with introductions of herself and Krista Gonce, Western Georgia regional prevention coordinator for the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy. Sawyer presented the group with solid statistics and facts that supported the need for more adults to be educated concerning child sexual abuse.
“One out every four girls and one out of every six boys are sexually abused before their 18th birthday. Child sexual abuse is a common problem and it is a community problem,” stated Sawyer.
Sawyer explained that the prevention of child sexual abuse is the responsibility of adults of the community and the topic needs to be brought out into the open and dealt with. The goal of the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy is to have five percent of the adult population trained in this program in every county of Georgia.
The program featured a video that had adult survivors of child sexual abuse and professionals in the field, giving frank and clear information on the topic. A interactive workbook, that followed along with the video, was given to the participants and was used to focus group discussions throughout the presentation. During the day’s training session Sawyer and Gonce reinforced the seven steps that “Stewards of Children” presents.
The program stresses that to protect children from sexual abuse, adults should:
• learn the facts and understand the risks
• minimize opportunity
• talk about it
• stay alert,
• make a plan
• act on suspicions
• get involved.
The entire training program is designed to have adult participants not only learn these steps but feel comfortable and confident when following them.
After viewing the video and participating in the group discussions, the message was heard load and clear; adults need to be educated, active participants in the prevention of child sexual abuse.
This program is being offered in other areas of the state. Further information may be obtained online at www.GeorgiaCenterForChildAdvocay.org, by contacting Krista Gonce by email, Kristag@gacfca.org.