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Trainings help shine light on reality of child abuse

August 3, 2015

Family & Children’s Place continues to lead efforts in Louisville, Ky., to inform and educate people about the prevalence of child violence, abuse and neglect, using specialized Darkness to Light trainings that teach participants how to recognize signs and signals of sexual abuse and how and where to report it.

In the last few months, agency staff trained Jefferson County Public School elementary, middle and high school counselors, along with workers from the system’s Youth Center and Family Resource Center. Another training is scheduled soon with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana.

“These trainings are extremely important to the effort to end child abuse, especially now in Kentucky where the General Assembly mandated training in recognizing and reporting abuse for all state educators and school staff,” said Enrica Thomas, LMFT, CSW, and director of the agency’s Kentucky-based Child & Family Services program.

Darkness to Light, a national, not-for-profit organization, certified Family & Children’s Place to provide the child sexual abuse prevention training, which occurs in a workshop format. During the two- to three-hour program, participants learn that:

  • Adults can minimize a child’s risk by eliminating or reducing a one-adult/one-child situation.
  • Open communication can help decrease a child’s vulnerability to sexual abuse and increase the likelihood that the child will tell someone when abuse has occurred.
  • The key signs of potential abuse include sexual behavior and language that are not age appropriate.

Trainees also learn where to go, whom to call and how to react responsibly to suspicions or reports of abuse.

“Every day, our therapists, forensic interviewers and caseworkers help children and families work through and recover from trauma caused by violence and abuse,” said Thomas. “These trainings add important eyes and ears to the effort to prevent and stop child abuse, and to ensure that we’re all looking out for the safety of children.”