Event aims to prevent child sexual abuse

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before age 18. This shocking statistic is why the Riverbrook Regional YMCA, Wilton Public Schools, and Trackside Teen Center will host a kick-off event that will bring the Stewards of Children sexual abuse prevention training to our community on Wednesday, Oct. 7, at 7:30 a.m. at Trackside.

The nationally recognized Stewards of Children training was created by nonprofit Darkness to Light and teaches adults how to recognize, prevent and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. The kickoff event will introduce guests to the training and is offered to day care providers, coaches, youth organizers, teachers, parents and concerned citizens.

“At the Y, we are committed to protecting the innocence of children,” says Bob McDowell, CEO of the Riverbrook Regional YMCA. “We are glad to be part of the solution by educating responsible adults and we are grateful to Wilton Public Schools and Trackside for partnering in this important community effort.”

Twenty percent of sexually abused children are under the age of eight. More than 90% of children who’ve been sexually abused know their abusers, a press release said. Darkness to Light is taking a proactive approach to diminishing this social ill.

“The ultimate mission of Darkness to Light, to end childhood sexual abuse, can only be accomplished by sharing the solution of prevention, awareness and education with more and more people. This, in turn, builds momentum and over time, changes the way our nation and culture cares for, protects and nurtures our children,” says Elizabeth Warren, national prevention program manager at Darkness to Light.

Studies have shown that participants in the Stewards of Children training program are better prepared to discuss child sex abuse issues with children and other adults, and are more aware of potential signs that sexual abuse may be occurring, the release said.

Stewards of Children was recognized by the Federal Department of Health and Human Services in their publication “Emerging Practices in Child Abuse Prevention.”

The kickoff event is free and will be held at the Trackside Teen Center, 15 Station Road. To RSVP, email Christene Freedman at cfreedman@riverbrookymca.org or call 203-762-8384, ext. 279.  For additional information about Darkness to Light visit d2l.org.