Statistically, most child sexual abuse occurs in a residence – generally the victim or perpetrator’s.
With that in mind, you might be wondering why we at D2L spend so much time working with organizations to help institute policies and train staff to prevent and respond to child sexual abuse. There are several very good reasons we say that youth serving organizations have an obligation to protect children.
- Serial perpetrators look for easy access to kids. Organizations without protective policies offer unlimited opportunities for perpetrators to form relationships, test boundaries, and engage in other grooming behaviors with children.
- While the majority of youth workers have the best of intentions for the children they serve, they often are unsure how to respond when they see a respected colleague or supervisor crossing boundaries. We’ve all heard the awful stories of perpetrators with decades of victims, made possible because staff and administrators were ill-equipped to understand or respond to classic grooming behaviors.
- Children who disclose sexual abuse often tell a trusted adult other than a parent (in many cases, a teacher). A hasty or uneducated response can result in a retraction of the story by the child, damage investigation and prosecution of the perpetrator, and cause further trauma to the child.
For these reasons, it is extremely important for people who work with children to understand how to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. D2L works with organizations across the US who have made this commitment, many of which take extra steps to earn our Partner in Prevention designation. To achieve this designation, organizations must:
- Make prevention a priority by using Stewards of Children to train staff and volunteers who interact with youth.
- Conduct criminal background checks on staff and volunteers who work with youth.
- Implement policy that limits opportunities for isolated, one-on-one situations.