The West Suburban YMCA is participating in the Five Days of Action, October 26-30, 2020. The Five Days of Action is a week designed to raise awareness and inspire adults to take action to protect children from sexual abuse.
The West Suburban YMCA encourages adults and organizations in the community to play a vital role in making Newton and the surrounding towns a safer place for children, especially during this ever-changing environment. As our communities continue to press pause and participate in social distancing, we know that protecting kids looks different this year. Not only is our community dealing with a pandemic that is separating kids in need from the safe adults in their lives, but there are spikes in domestic violence, cries for social justice for Black lives, and more concerns about the mental health of youth and adults.
Five Days of Action will help communities and parents/caregivers take it One Day at a Time and will offer tips, tools, activities, and resources that are relevant to the current environment.
When adults know how abuse happens, see the warning signs, and respond quickly to prevent abuse, they foster a culture of child abuse prevention. Together, we can bring awareness to the issue of child sexual abuse in our communities and have important conversations around how we can all work together to prevent it from happening.
“Protecting children from sexual abuse must be the number one goal of every person who cares about the health and well-being of kids,” said Jack Fucci, West Suburban YMCA President and CEO. “Together, we can stand up to demand that children are protected and encourage adults to make it happen in our community. It takes all of us.”
At the West Suburban YMCA, steps are taken to ensure a safe environment for every child who enters the building, enrolls in a program or attends summer camp. These steps include pre-employment screenings that consist of a Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) check & Sexual Offender Registry Information (SORI) check, and comprehensive reference checks that include standardized questions for assessing risk for abuse. Once an employee is hired, they complete an extensive Child Abuse Prevention Training Program, which is repeated annually, and are mandated to report any suspected abuse. Policies exist to ensure that staff and volunteers are never alone with a child, and all interaction between staff and child must be observable and interruptible.
“Individuals who are trained in abuse prevention are more likely to understand their role as protector, to recognize the signs abuse is occurring, and to report suspicious or inappropriate behavior – to know, see, and respond,” affirmed Fucci. “During Five Days of Action, we want to provide resources to as many people as possible about child sexual abuse prevention, because we all play a role in keeping children safe.”
The West Suburban YMCA, with support from the YMCA Guardians for Child Protection, YMCA of the USA, Darkness to Light, the Redwoods Group Foundation, and Praesidium have made materials available to help adults learn more about preventing child sexual abuse. A “One Day at a Time” resource guide is available for families to download at www.wsymca.org/child-safety. The guide includes information and activities for families about identifying trusted adults, keeping kids safe on the internet, and creating a family code of conduct that can help children recognize when boundaries are crossed. It also includes a list of Massachusetts community resources for responding to child sexual abuse.
For more information about preventing child sexual abuse visit www.fivedaysofaction.org.
Materials are derived from YMCA of the USA’s “Know. See. Respond.” copyrighted in 2020.
CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE STATISTICS – PROVIDED BY DARKNESS TO LIGHT
- One in ten children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday.
- 90% of child sexual abuse victims know their abuser.
- Approximately 30% of children who are sexually abused are abused by family members.
- 60% of child sexual abuse victims never tell anyone.
- False reports are rare. Research shows that only 4 to 8% of child sexual abuse reports are fabricated.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU BELIEVE A CHILD IS BEING ABUSED – PROVIDED BY DARKNESS TO LIGHT
- You do not need to have proof that abuse is occurring to make a report, only reasonable suspicion. Reasonable suspicion means that you have witnessed maltreatment or boundary violations, either in the child or adult, or both. Or, you have received a disclosure from a child about abuse, neglect, or boundary violations towards them.
- Child sexual abuse reports should be made to the police and/or state child protective services.
- Contact the Darkness to Light Helpline at 866-FOR-LIGHT or text LIGHT to 741741 to have questions answered by trained counselors at no charge.
About the West Suburban YMCA
The West Suburban YMCA is a charitable non-profit organization that has been a fixture in the Newton community for over 140 years. The Y is committed to strengthening the foundations of the community by supporting youth development, healthy living and social responsibility for all.
About Darkness to Light
Darkness to Light is a nonprofit organization with the mission to empower adults to prevent child sexual abuse through awareness, education, and stigma reduction. Darkness to Light’s flagship program, Stewards of Children®, is an evidence-informed, award-winning training that teaches adults to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. More than 1.9 million adults have been trained using Darkness to Light trainings. For more information, visit www.D2L.org.
About Redwoods Group Foundation
The Redwoods Group Foundation supports programs that can change the world and helps them reach more people than ever before, through funding and backbone support. We currently focus on child sexual abuse prevention, drowning prevention, and growing the field of social entrepreneurship. For more information, visit www.redwoodsgroup.com/about-us/redwoods-group-foundation.
Praesidium specializes in preventing sexual abuse in organizations that serve youth and vulnerable adults. Over a period in excess of 25 years, the company has reviewed over 4,000 cases of abuse within organizations to determine the root causes of sexual abuse within organizational settings. Praesidium employs more than 40 staff, including licensed social workers, lawyers, psychologists, health care researchers, and other experts. The company has served over 5,000 clients with a broad range of products and services to aid organizations in preventing abuse, including online and instructor‐led trainings; organizational risk assessments; model policies and incident investigations. Having trained more than one million people online and hundreds of thousands in person, Praesidium is the largest and most comprehensive sexual abuse risk management firm globally.