Sexual abuse is an epidemic. Experts estimate that 25% of girls and 16% of boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. The consequences to our children and society begin immediately. Sexual abuse triggers a number of issues, including: drug and alcohol abuse, suicide, eating disorders, teen pregnancy and increased risk for sexually inappropriate behaviors with younger or less powerful youth.
Children are often taught how to keep themselves safe from sexual abuse, but imagine how difficult it is for a child to say “no” to a parent, a teacher or a coach. Even the adults we trust to protect children can’t always be trusted.
While it is important to educate children about child sexual abuse and to empower them to speak up, a child’s safety is an adult’s responsibility. We believe that concerned adults in a child’s life can be their best advocates, and adults that are aware and make the choice to prevent child sexual abuse can make a difference.
Stewards of Children
Missouri KidsFirst is an authorized facilitator of Stewards of Children. The curriculum is designed to teach adults, youth-serving organizations and communities how to recognize, react and respond responsibly to child sexual abuse.
Created by Darkness to Light, Stewards of Children is a nationally available, evidence-based program shown to an increase in knowledge, improve attitudes and change child-protective behaviors.
Stewards of Children can be used by parents, youth-serving organizations, schools and communities to:
- To prevent child sexual abuse before it occurs.
- Train parents, staff and volunteers to recognize, react and respond to child sexual abuse.
- To enhance organizational policies and procedures that protect children
Learn the 3 Foundational Steps:
Making Choices, We have the ability – both in our organizations and in our families – to make proactive choices that protect children and keep them safe from sexual abuse. If we want our children to be happy and healthy, we have to make choices which support that goal.
Taking Risks, Choices often involve some personal risk that takes us outside our comfort zones – like talking to children about sexual boundaries, redirecting an adult who’s crossing boundaries, or making an actual report. Sometimes we have to take risks, even if we are uncertain or don’t know the outcome, to make sure a child is protected.
Supporting Each Other, When children take their first steps, ride their first bikes, or climb into the driver’s seat for the first time, there is usually someone beside them providing guidance and support. It’s easier to take big steps when you know you have someone on your side, ready to lend a hand if you need it. As communities, as organizations, and as individuals, we can give support to others’ efforts to prevent child sexual abuse, and we can ask for support when we need it.
Learn the 5 Steps to Protecting Children:
Step 1- Learn the facts. To become conscious of child sexual abuse means to know what it is, to acknowledge its prevalence, to understand how it occurs and to take steps to actively protect children.
Step 2- Minimize Opportunity. If you eliminate or reduce one-on-one adult/child situations, you’ll dramatically lower the risk of sexual abuse
Step 3-Talk about it. You give children a foundation that lasts a lifetime when you teach them how to value their bodies and to know that they have choice about how adults treat them
Step 4- Recognize the Signs. The signs are not always obvious when a child is being sexually abused. Learn how to address signs and behaviors
Step 5- React Responsibility. Learn how to react and who to go to for help. By acting on suspicions of child sexual abuse, you may help not only one child, but perhaps countless others.
Certification is for 2.0 clock hours (CEUs are available for some professions). Training includes an interactive workbook, training video and facilitated discussion. Certificates of completion are provided.
Outcomes to be expected from this training:
- Increased awareness of the prevalence, consequences and circumstances of child sexual abuse
- Skills for adults to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse
- Proactive, positive awareness and/or change to organizational policies and procedures that prevention child sexual abuse
- Individual commitment to action with a personal prevention plan
Learn more about the Stewards of Children curriculum.
To bring Stewards of Children to your organization or community, contact:
Cherisse Thibaut, LCSW, Manager of Prevention and Community Outreach