3,600 Midlands children better protected from sexual abuse

Columbia, South Carolina - November 1, 2010 - Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands (STSM) trained 360 adults in the Child Safety Program offered this past fiscal year. For every one adult trained, an average of ten children are better protected from sexual abuse.

Statistics show that by the age of 18, one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused. STSM staff and qualified volunteer facilitators led the three and a half hour, evidence-based educational program. The program teaches that child safety is an adult's job. Topics addressed during training included warning signs of abuse, mandated reporting, how to properly handle disclosure, and what measures organizations can take to keep their children safe.

"Discussing signs of abuse and appropriate responses takes away the fear of getting involved," one participant said. Trainings were held at child care centers, schools and churches across Lexington and Newberry counties. In a six month follow up study, more than 93 percent indicated that they had a plan of action in the event that a child in their care was sexually abused.

Thanks to funding from The Children's Trust Fund of South Carolina, the program wrapped up its first year in October 2010. Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands hopes to extend the program in future years once further grant funds are secured.  

Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands (STSM), formerly named Rape Crisis Network, is a private, nonprofit, United Way member agency committed to providing free, direct services to survivors of sexual assault and abuse, including 24-hour crisis hotline, hospital accompaniment, court accompaniment, personal advocacy, individual and group counseling, and education about sexual trauma issues.