Child sexual abuse prevention workshop on tap

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LACASA Center’s Child Abuse Prevention (CAP) Council is hosting a free workshop for Livingston County residents about ways to help prevent child sexual abuse in the community.

The Stewards of Children workshop is an evidence-based program that teaches adults five steps to protecting children. This half-day program is critical for parents, grandparents, adults who work or volunteer with children, and concerned community members dedicated to helping children grow up safe, healthy, and whole.

CAP will hold its winter workshop session on Wednesday, March 22, beginning at 9 a.m.

“Recently we have been seeing a number of news stories about the sexual abuse of children,” said Holly Naylor, CAP Council coordinator. “It can be very discouraging to see those headlines. The CAP Council wants people to know that there IS something you can do to prevent child sexual abuse- join us at the Stewards of Children workshop on March 22 to learn how you can be a part of the solution.”

As part of its mission to protect children and eliminate abuse, the CAP Council has been offering Stewards of Children to the Livingston County community since 2007. The program was created by Darkness to Light, a non-profit organization committed to raising awareness about the prevalence and consequences of child sexual abuse. Stewards helps educate adults on the steps they can take to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to the reality of child sexual abuse.

“This is a difficult and uncomfortable topic,” said Naylor. “But the feedback we have received from past Livingston County trainings has been very positive. Evaluations have included statements like ‘very informative seminar, atmosphere relaxed and speaker made us feel comfortable to ask and answer questions.’ Or comments such as ‘People need to be willing to talk about it and know what to do and how to get help. This hits close to home and now with grandchildren it makes me realize that I am a major player in their safety.’”

Studies from the Darkness to Light organization and the University of New Hampshire have indicated that rates of child sexual abuse have decreased since the 1990s. In 2012, the New York Times noted that Dr. David Finkelhor of the University of New Hampshire attributed some of the decline to greater public awareness and prevention efforts.

“Child sexual abuse is still a critical problem, particularly here at LACASA where we see a much higher rate of investigations of sexual abuse than physical abuse in our forensic CARE interviews,” said Naylor. “But it is so critical for people to realize that we do have tools that are helping, and that an educated community is part of the solution.”

Space is limited at the March 22 Stewards of Children workshop and registration is required. To register, or to schedule a Stewards of Children workshop for your business, community organization, or other group, please contact Holly Naylor at hnaylor@lacasacenter.org or call 517-548-1350, ext. 287.

LACASA Center is a nonprofit organization that provides critical services and programs for local victims of child abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault.

Funding for the Stewards of Children program is provided by Michigan’s Children’s Trust Fund. For additional information on other programs and services available through the CAP Council, please contact LACASA at (517) 548-1350 or visit lacasacenter.org.

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