While millions of Americans watched the Olympics this summer, several stories emerged about adult athletes who were victims of sexual abuse as children. Again we’ve been reminded that we have a critical problem in our society – that children simply aren’t protected because too many adults don’t know how to recognize or respond to child sexual abuse. We’re working hard to change that reality.
Last month, in Greater Prince William County, we conducted four Stewards of Children classes. Participants in these classes work in a variety of jobs that have a focus on protecting children and youth. An on-site class was conducted for SAVAS ACTS Turning Points (a domestic violence, shelter and advocacy services organization). Several participants in this class provided SCAN with video testimony of the importance of adults protecting children from sexual abuse. Another unique group that benefited from training recently were the students enrolled in a Domestic Violence course taught at the Northern Virginia Community College Manassas campus. In fact, the students felt that it was valuable enough to their studies that the professor asked SCAN to facilitate additional classes in the future.
Our work has gone beyond Prince William County. The Fairfax County Department of Family Services sponsored a class open to all of their social workers and volunteer staff. SCAN will continue its presence in Fairfax County with upcoming classes sponsored by the Fairfax Partnership for Youth for their volunteer mentors and staff. We continue to encourage child and youth serving professionals to share the message of the Stewards of Children program—that it is an adult’s responsibility to protect children from sexual abuse.
On the horizon, SCAN has classes scheduled with a mixture of professionals in Loudoun County as well as with the staff of the Boys and Girls Club in Prince William County.
The movement to educate and equip adults with basic strategies continues on in Northern Virginia!