The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

March 29, 2009

Child sex abuse prevention training gets funds

With donations from Raleigh General Hospital in Beckley and Perry Memorial United Methodist Church in Shady Spring, a child advocacy center in Beckley will begin training in April for churches, businesses and other organizations that want to be more informed about preventing child sexual abuse.

“We have been given a donation by Raleigh General Hospital to make this training available via scholarship to about 100 people, and we also have a donation from Perry Memorial United Methodist Church for an additional 10 people,” said Christina Bailey, prevention coordinator for Just For Kids in Beckley.

Stewards of Children, a division of Darkness to Light, an organization that provides the training and education, has seen good results in its efforts, Bailey said.

“This is excellent training for youth pastors, Sunday school teachers, school teachers — anyone who comes in contact with children,” Bailey said. “The course helps adults recognize signs of child sexual abuse in children, teaches how to intervene and how to put measures in place that help prevent child sexual abuse.”

Business or church leaders who take the training can schedule further sessions to develop policies that protect children who come to their churches or business locations.

“These kinds of policies have to be adapted to the specific situation, so we can’t cover those in a general way in the initial training, but we can help develop policies that will fit the needs of a business, church or organization,” she said.

Michael Horton scheduled training for board members of Sophia Little League, which has about 300 children participating with 50 to 75 paying adult league members.

“I was interested in this program because it stresses policies that eliminate situations in which a child would be alone with one adult. Statistics show the highest percentage of offenses against children occur in those types of situations,” Horton said. “Our little league wants to become the first sports program to make it our policy to protect the children in the league from anyone who would abuse them. We believe taking a proactive approach is the best way to protect our children.”

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