ID Child Sex Abuse Cases Stress Urgency of Prevention Methods
Monday, July 24, 2023
An unfortunate spate of child sexual abuse cases in Idaho is putting prevention methods in the spotlight.
A Kuna middle school teacher recently pled guilty to enticing a child, and lewd contact with a minor. Another case from a Boise junior high school has left lingering questions about how the abuse could have been stopped earlier.
Taryn Molitor is a family support coordinator at Saint Vincent de Paul North Idaho in Coeur d'Alene. She said the first thing people can do to prevent abuse is understand its prevalence.
"One in ten children before their 18th birthday will be sexually abused," said Molitor. "Ninety percent of abuse happens by somebody the family knows and trusts. One in five youth are sexually abused by peers, or youth to youth abuse."
Molitor said it's also important for adults to lay out boundaries. For instance, having an observable and interruptible conversation with a child is important so they understand they are safe.
Molitor is also a certified instructor for Stewards of Children, a child sexual abuse prevention program that provides training for the public.
She said the program revamped its training this year and Idaho was one of the first states to implement it.
"They're going at it from a trauma informed perspective this time around," said Molitor. "And that features new experts with lived experiences sharing their stories, as well as professionals who work in the field of child sexual abuse prevention and law enforcement."
Molitor said the goal of Stewards of Children is to train 5% of Idaho's population, or about 95,000 people. They have currently trained about 20,000.
Molitor said this is not an issue that can simply be solved by throwing money at it.
"It takes conscious, knowledgeable adults talking about it," said Molitor, "and getting comfortable with holding boundaries and having healthy relationships with the kiddos in their lives."
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