Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands Launches New Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Program

COLUMBIA, SC. June 4, 2009—Starting July 1, 2009, Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands (STSM), a nonprofit providing services to survivors of sexual assault and education about sexual trauma issues to residents of Richland, Lexington, and Newberry Counties, will launch a new child sexual abuse prevention component to their Community Education Program. In December 2008, STSM was chosen as one of 20 organizations to participate in Darkness to Light’s national Prevent Now! Initiative which will help STSM launch this new component for their organization.

Darkness to Light is a national nonprofit located in Charleston, SC that works to diminish the incidence and impact of child sexual abuse and raise awareness of the prevalence and consequences of such abuse by educating adults about the steps they can take to prevent, recognize, and react to the reality of child sexual abuse. STSM will partner with Darkness to Light for a minimum of five years to educate over 20,000 adults in the Midlands with the Stewards of Children Program.

The Stewards of Children program is a revolutionary sexual abuse prevention training program that educates adults to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse, and motivates them to courageous action. This program was named the National Crime Prevention Council’s Crime Prevention Program of the Year in 2007 and is endorsed by the SC State Department of Education. STSM expects to educate parents, school personnel, youth serving organizations (such as child-care centers and afterschool programs), law enforcement, Child Protective Services, professionals in the medical field, and any other adults who have regular contact with children.

“The South Carolina Department of Education strongly believes in protecting each and every child,” says Mark Bounds, Deputy Superintendant for Educator Quality and Leadership at the South Carolina Department of Education. “We support the Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands and their Stewards of Children child sexual abuse prevention program proposal because it is a thorough and comprehensive program that, we believe, will significantly decrease the sexual abuse of South Carolina’s most vulnerable population.”

STSM’s new initiative will be launched with a training in partnership with the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Substances (DAODAS) on July 8, 2009. Information about Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands, their local services, and their child sexual abuse initiative can be found at www.stsm.org. More information about Darkness to Light and their national prevention efforts can be found at www.d2l.org. To sign up for this training, contact DAODAS at 1-888-SC PREVENTS.

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.