Posts tagged ‘sexual abuse’

Children’s Exposure to Violence: A Comprehensive National Survey

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention just released their study, Children’s Exposure to Violence: A Comprehensive National Survey. The study included over 4,500 juveniles age 17 and younger and covered topics from bullying, to child maltreatment, to sexual victimization. Here are some interesting findings:

  • Children 7-10 years old are the most likely to experience physical assault/bullying from siblings and peers
  • Nearly 1 in 10 surveyed had been sexually victimized, and nearly 20% of all girls are sexually victimized by the time they are 17
  • 1 in 5 children suffer maltreatment (physical abuse, neglect, emotional abuse, and more) by the time they are 17
    Children 10-13 are at the highest risk for kidnapping than any other age group
  • Overall, adolescents age 14-17 are at the highest risk for witnessing or being the victim of physical abuse and sexual victimization of all types

Any violence against children is too much violence against children. Talk to your kids about what they can do to protect themselves from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. Foster a relationship with your children that is open and honest, where they can feel safe talking to you about these issues. Overall, as adults and parents, we need to be the examples for our children. If we are physically, verbally, and emotionally abusive to them or others—or let abuse we see go unreported—they will learn from us.

Let’s all work together to stop violence against children. Here’s one organization that is trying to help: www.darkness2light.org. They have great resources for parents for raising awareness and combating child sexual abuse.

Read the entire results of the study here: http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/227744.pdf

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October 12, 2009 at 5:00 am Leave a comment

Preventing Sexual Abuse Through More Than ‘Stranger Danger’

Jaycee Lee Duggrad, kidnapped in 1991 by Phillip Garrido

Jaycee Lee Duggrad, kidnapped in 1991 by Phillip Garrido

As someone who follows sex offender issues, I have seen a myriad of recent articles in the media that throw blame at the California parole system, the Contra Costa County Sherriff’s Office, the California state sex offender registry and other governmental agencies for not better protecting Jaycee Lee Duggard and not catching Phillip Garrido sooner (see this article for a blame list that runs the gammut). But throwing blame at governmental agencies only distracts us from the real threats to our child’s safety.

Family and Friends

High-profile cases like this stoke our fear that our children will be abducted by the creepy guy at the end of the block or that some stranger will snatch our children off the street. But, really, that creepy guy at the end of the street is probably much less of a threat to your child than your friendly neighbor, a family friend, or close relative: 93% of first-time sex offenders are friends, acquaintances, or family members—people who are not yet on any registry.

It’s scary to think that your husband, brother, son, aunt, or niece is the most likely person to sexually assault your child. So we put it out of our minds, and we focus on the registered sex offender down the street who we have never met and never talked to.

What We Can Prevent

In reality, despite the waves of criticism being lobbed at California laws and law enforcement for not finding Duggard sooner, there is little to no evidence that Duggard’s actual kidnapping could have been prevented. It has been widely reported that Duggard was snatched off the street—within sight of her own home—as she walked to a nearby school bus stop. Her own stepfather saw the kidnapping take place and was powerless to stop it. But this is an extremely rare case. Protecting your child from sexual predators within your own circle of friends and family is much more preventable.

Go Beyond ‘Stranger Danger’

The first step is talking with your children, not just about “stranger danger,” but about inappropriate touching or inappropriate conversations with people they already know. Let them know that they have the right to say “no” to an adult or teen who makes them feel uncomfortable—even if that person is a friend or family member.

In addition, create a relationship with your child wherein they feel comfortable sharing anything with you. Many child predators shame their victims by telling them that their parents won’t love them or want them anymore if they found out what they did. Make sure your child knows they can always talk to you about anything without shame or remorse.

More Tips

I highly recommend taking a look at this list of suggestions about how to talk to your child and prevent sexual abuse by someone they know: http://www.stopitnow.org/mn/parents3.html

Also, here is a sobering site that lists sex offender statistics: http://www.geocities.com/voicism/index-charts.html#chta

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September 17, 2009 at 7:55 am 1 comment

LA Schools Accused of Covering Up Sexual Abuse

Last year, a jury ordered the LA School district to pay 1.6 million to families of three girls molested by Ricardo Guevara, an elementary school teacher. However, an LA Times investigation found that this was actually the third time Guevara had been accused of molestation. In the first two instances, prosecutors didn’t have enough evidence to prosecute, and Guevara was quietly sent back into the classroom. Not only was Guevara protected by the school district after his first two offences, but he was teaching again in no time.

This blatant disregard for the safety of our children is par for the course in the LA school district. The LA Times article goes on to site multiple teachers who were accused of sexual misconduct with students and moved to a different school, only to be charged again and found guilt after molesting more children.

Granted, not all teachers accused of sexual misconduct are guilty, but should there not be a better system of supervision for the people that spend every day with our children? The LA Times piece goes on to state that even if prosecutors did not convict an accused child molester, the school district had the right to dismiss the teachers based on any level of misconduct with a student. But the school district failed to do so.

We should not let our children be victims of a system that looks out for its own well being over a child’s. Get informed about your children’s teachers, know who else is in the classroom, and what adults have access to your children when they are away from you at school.

Read the full LA Times investigation and watch the powerful story of a victim of the LA school district’s misconduct here.

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May 13, 2009 at 5:08 pm Leave a comment


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