STSM Youth Violence Prevention Program Files Record Number of Mandated Reports

COLUMBIA, SC – Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands provides sexual abuse prevention programming in local schools throughout the school year. STSM community educators use primary prevention programming endorsed by the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control to educate people about the root causes of violence and to empower people to make positive change in the community.

STSM's Youth Violence Prevention Program adheres to the Comprehensive Sex Education Act for South Carolina and covers topics that are required by the SC Health and Safety Education Standards to be taught in schools. These six classes on boundaries, healthy relationships, sexual assault, and other relevant topics were offered in 23 local middle and high schools in 2013. This program led to 17 mandated reports of suspected sexual abuse in 2013, 7 of which were filed in December alone.

STSM staff and volunteers along with many other professionals who work directly with vulnerable populations are identified by the state of South Carolina as mandated reporters. Mandated reporters must report when, in their professional capacity, they have reason to believe that a child has been or will be abused or neglected.

“Sexual abuse is an epidemic harming our community. Prevention education is vital to change social norms about gender and sexual violence that negatively impact our families, businesses, and schools,” says Executive Director Ginny Waller. Waller adds, “Teachers and other adults who work with children must understand how to respond to child sexual abuse and file a mandated report to protect children from further abuse.”

STSM sexual violence prevention programing is offered free of charge and is available to local schools, community organizations, and businesses. In addition, STSM offers trainings for adults on recognizing and preventing child sexual abuse and other sexual violence prevention and risk-reduction initiatives, including mandated reporting.

STSM is a private nonprofit agency with headquarters at 3830 Forest Drive in Suite 201 and is open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. STSM provides crisis intervention, personal and legal advocacy and counseling to survivors as well as prevention education to local middle and high school students in Richland, Lexington, Newberry, and Sumter Counties. The Columbia office number is 803-790-8208. The 24-hour hotline is 803-771-7273. All services are free and confidential.

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.