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Child Sexual Abuse Drops Nationally, But Not in Idaho

February 4, 2010

BOISE, Idaho - Two reports on child sexual abuse this week give different statistics of the crime, but experts agree the impact on victims remains severe. One study, from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, shows instances of child sexual abuse have dropped nationally, while the other report, from the Idaho Attorney General's Office, shows the crime has persistently risen over the past ten years in Idaho.

Wickes MacColl, grants manager for the Idaho Children's Trust Fund (ICTF), says child sexual abuse is a crime of devastating consequence that can be prevented. She's working to help people understand that the risk of sexual abuse is less-often associated with a stranger in a park than from people children know.

"Keeping children safe from child sexual abuse is having adults aware that indeed it's the person that's right in your community who is very adept at manipulating the situation."

Those who sexually abuse children also take advantage of parents, and parents need to be aware of how that happens, says MacColl.

"A predator often grooms a situation so that they can entice a child, and also entice the adult into trusting in them."

MacColl reminds parents and other caring adults they bear the responsibility of noticing warning signs, such as another adult or relative who seeks to spend unsupervised time with a child. Next month, ICTF will train a new team of experts who will spread the prevention message statewide.

Deb Courson, Public News Service - ID