Sandusky Trial Raises Questions for Adults and Children about Child Sexual Abuse

As the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse trial proceedings began this week, three national organizations, Darkness to Light, Prevent Child Abuse America, and Stop It Now, announced the creation of alliance to make child sexual abuse (CSA) prevention a national priority. The CSA Prevention Alliance seeks create a new national standard for CSA prevention and intervention. The Parenting Network applauds these efforts in bringing awareness to this important issue and implementing stronger prevention tactics.

The high profile Sandusky trial brings the issue of child sexual abuse into the spotlight, and parents and other adults may have questions that arise during the trial. Stop It Now has created a FAQ resource for such questions including “including why don’t adults do more to protect children, why don’t children tell if they’ve been abused, and where to go if you’re worried about someone’s behavior towards children.”

Likewise, this media coverage provides an opportunity for parents to speak to their children about protecting themselves against child sexual abuse. Younger children may not be aware of any news coverage about the trial, but school-aged children, tweens, and teens may encounter discussions or media stories on the topic. Parents should address their children’s concerns by first gently asking how much their children know about child sexual abuse. Darkness to Light offers a guide to talking to children about the Sandusky trial. The Parenting Network also has recommendations for talking to children about sexual development.

Parents and other adults who wish to learn more about protecting children from child sexual abuse can attend training through The Parenting Network. Since 2009, The Parenting Network has been the lead agency in the Milwaukee area to facilitate Stewards of Children, a program developed by Darkness to Light. Stewards of Children is a 2.5-hour training program for any adult interested in learning how to protect children from sexual abuse. Approximately 1,000 adults are trained annually. Key partners with The Parenting Network are Pathfinders and The Healing Center.

In addition to the training, The Parenting Network, in partnership with United Way of Greater Milwaukee and the Child Abuse Prevention Fund, will assist youth-serving organizations to develop policies and procedures to ensure the safety of children attending programs. For more information, contact Ruth Miller, 414/671-5575, x 30.  

The Parenting Network also provides a list of sexual abuse resources in Milwaukee. Additionally, the Parent Helpline is an excellent resource for parents, caregivers, or any adult who has a question about community resources or any form of child abuse. Call the Parent Helpline at 414/671-0566 or send an email.

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