The Madison Area YMCA is participating in the Five Days of Action, October 26-30. The Five Days of Action week is designed to raise awareness and inspire adults to take action to protect children from sexual abuse.  

The Madison Area YMCA encourages adults and organizations in the community to play a vital role in making New Jersey a safer place for children, especially in this ever-changing environment. As our communities continue to press pause and participate in social distancing, we know that protecting kids looks different this year. Not only is our community dealing with a pandemic that is separating kids in need from the safe adults in their lives, but there are spikes in domestic violence, cries for social justice for Black lives, and more concerns about the mental health of youth and adults.  

Five Days of Action will help communities and parents/caregivers take it One Day at a Time and offer tips, tools, activities and resources that are relevant to the current environment.  

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When adults know how abuse happens, see the warning signs, and respond quickly to prevent abuse, they foster a culture of child abuse prevention. Together, we can bring awareness to the issue of child sexual abuse in our communities and have important conversations around how we can all work together to prevent it from happening.  

Madison Area YMCA Board Member and Chair of the Human Resources and Child Protection Committee Anne Hargrave said, “Protecting children from sexual abuse must be one of the highest priorities for every person who cares about the health and well-being of kids. Together we can ensure that children are protected and adults in our community are aware of prevention tips, how to identify when boundaries have been crossed and what to do when you have a reasonable suspicion that abuse has occurred."  

The Madison Area YMCA will display Pinwheel Gardens on the grounds of the Y’s Family Center, F.M. Kirby Children’s Center and Madison’s Borough Hall to commemorate Five Days of Action. Be sure to visit the Madison Area YMCA’s website at www.madisonareaymca.org and social media channels for important resources and tips for adults and parents including how adults can teach children to respond when they are uncomfortable, how to be aware of the way offenders operate and how to respond to warning signs. 

The Madison Area YMCA with support from the YMCA Guardians for Child Protection, YMCA of the USA, Darkness to Light, the Redwoods Group Foundation, and Praesidium have made materials available to help adults learn more about preventing child sexual abuse. For more information about preventing child sexual abuse visit www.fivedaysofaction.org. Materials are derived from YMCA of the USA’s “Know. See. Respond.” copyrighted in 2020.  
 

CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE STATISTICS - PROVIDED BY DARKNESS TO LIGHT  

  • One in ten children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday.  

  • 90% of child sexual abuse victims know their abuser.  

  • Approximately 30% of children who are sexually abused are abused by family members.  

  • 60% of child sexual abuse victims never tell anyone.  

  • False reports are rare. Research shows that only 4 to 8% of child sexual abuse reports are fabricated.  

WHAT TO DO IF YOU BELIEVE A CHILD IS BEING ABUSED - PROVIDED BY DARKNESS TO LIGHT  

  • You do not need to have proof that abuse is occurring to make a report, only reasonable suspicion. Reasonable suspicion means that you have witnessed maltreatment or boundary violations, either in the child or adult, or both. Or, you have received a disclosure from a child about abuse, neglect, or boundary violations towards them.  

  • Child sexual abuse reports should be made to the police and/or state child protective services.  

  • Contact the Darkness to Light Helpline at 866-FOR-LIGHT or text LIGHT to 741741 to have questions answered by trained counselors at no charge.  

As a mission-driven charitable organization and community wellness center, the Madison Area YMCA is dedicated to nurturing the potential of our youth, providing a safe space for children and teens, improving the community’s health and well-being, and giving back by providing support to our neighbors.