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Thousands to be Trained to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse in Idaho

PHOTO: More than 22,000 people in the Treasure Valley are going to be trained to prevent child sexual abuse. Photo credit: Deborah C. Smith
PHOTO: More than 22,000 people in the Treasure Valley are going to be trained to prevent child sexual abuse. Photo credit: Deborah C. Smith
October 20, 2014

BOISE, Idaho - Two hours in training to protect Idaho children from child sexual abuse. More than 22-thousand in the Boise area will undergo the training in the coming months. Comments from Michael Graves, national director of partnering in prevention at the Redwoods Group Foundation. The organization's goal is to train more than 22-thousand people in the Treasure Valley, in conjunction with the YMCA. Image available: Photo of a child playing.

More than 22,000 people in the Treasure Valley are going to be trained to prevent child sexual abuse, thanks to a grant.

The trainings are part of a goal to train 5 percent of the nation's adult population. The money comes from the Redwoods Group Foundation, and trainings will be coordinated by local YMCAs.

Michael Graves, the foundation's national director of partnering in prevention, said that a big part of the training is understanding that one in 10 children will be sexually abused before age 18, and 90 percent will be abused by someone they or the family knows and trusts.

"Most perpetrators go through a pretty long grooming process to gain the trust of the child," Graves said, "and in many cases, the trust of the child's parents and guardians."

The "Stewards of Children" training also identifies what to look for, how to have conversations with children and what to do if you suspect something. In Idaho, Graves said, all adults are required to report suspected child sexual abuse so trained investigators can look into the situation, and do so without revictimizing the child.

Graves said the training is not just for teachers, coaches and those with regular direct contact with children. He said he wants everyone to consider it to provide a cushion of protection for all children.

"This is such an epidemic with such broad consequences to society that it's something that all adults should know about," he said.

The Stewards of Children training can be done online and takes about two hours. Interested people can contact a local YMCA to see if grant coverage of the cost is available, or contact the Idaho Children's Trust Fund. Without the grant, the program is $10. Training details and free information are online at D2L.org.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - ID