It's a tough statistic to hear. One in four girls, and one in six boys will be sexually abused by the age of 18. It's the reason a new group has formed in Sioux City to help adults better recognize when a child has been abused.
Sherrie Schweder is a forensic interviewer who's new mission is to help adults better identify when child sexual abuse is happening. "It's really an adults responsibility to protect children against sexual abuse, as well as other parts of their lives," said Sherrie Schweder. Schweder is part of a new group called Darkness to Light. "Child sexual abuse is something we just don't really want to talk about as a society. And I think unfortunately sometimes there are signs that people either don't recognize, or don't know what to do when they see that, or who to tell or how to report it," said Sherrie.
Darkness to Light teaches adults the signs to look for, even though they can many times be hard to see. "Each child is different, so what we tell people is to look for changes in behavior; changes in emotional affect in the child," said Schweder. Schweder says the key is to keep an open communication with your children and teach them from an early age about their bodies and what is an inappropriate touch. Sherrie Schweder says that is just one of the seven key steps they teach in Darkness to Light.
The program is geared toward child-serving professionals, like sports teams, mentoring program, schools and more. Those who take part do earn certification that can count toward insurance requirements. If you'd like Darkness to Light to hold a training session for your organization, you can call the Child Advocacy Center at Mercy Medical Center.
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