FANWOOD/SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- The Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA (FSPY) is marking Child Abuse Prevention Month with Five Days of Action, April 22-26, 2019. Leading up to Healthy Kids Day®, a national initiative to improve the health and well-being of kids, on Saturday, April 27, Five Days of Action focuses on preventing child sexual abuse by sharing tips on how adults can prevent child sexual abuse.  

During April and all year long, the FSPY encourages adults and organizations in the community to play a vital role in making New Jersey a safer place for children. This year’s Five Days of Action theme is “Know. See. Respond.” 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.

“Protecting children from sexual abuse must be the number one goal of every person who cares about the health and well-being of kids,” said Kathy Barros, Senior Director of Child Care Services for FSPY. “Together, we can stand up to demand that children are protected and encourage adults to make it happen in our community. It takes all of us.”

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The Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA will host several events related to the Five Days of Action:

  • Commitment Card Signing Event: On April 22, a table will be set up in the YMCA lobby where members and guests are invited to pledge to protect children from sexual abuse.
  • Information meetings on learning to create safer spaces for children: April 23 from 9-11:30 a.m. and 4:00-5:00 p.m. in the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA lobby.
  • Free Stewards of Children Training Night: April 30 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA. This event is open to the community and will train participants in how to prevent child sexual abuse. To register, contact Kathy Barros at kbarros@fspymca.org.
  • Preschool and Child Care classrooms will plant a pinwheel garden.

* Please note: All YMCA guests must show a valid, government-issued photo ID to enter the YMCA building.

FSPY and the YMCA Guardians for Child Protection, with support from 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 information about preventing child sexual abuse visit www.fivedaysofaction.org. Materials are derived from YMCA of the USA’s “Know. See. Respond.” copyrighted in 2019.

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.

The Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA is dedicated to improving the quality of life of the individuals, families and communities it serves through programs and services that build wholeness of spirit, mind and body. The YMCA is a not-for-profit organization founded on Christian principles, serving people of all ages, races, faith, cultures and socio-economic conditions. For information on membership or programs, or to request a schedule of classes, please call the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA at (908) 889-8880 or visit https://fspymca.org. Financial assistance is available for those who qualify.

About Darkness to Light

Darkness to Light is a nonprofit organization with the mission to empower adults to prevent child sexual abuse through awareness, education, and stigma reduction. Darkness to Light’s flagship program, Stewards of Children®, is an evidence-informed, award-winning training that teaches adults to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. More than 1.7 million adults have been trained using Darkness to Light trainings. For more information, visit www.D2L.org.  

About Redwoods Group Foundation

The Redwoods Group Foundation supports programs that can change the world and helps them reach more people than ever before, through funding and backbone support. We currently focus on child sexual abuse prevention, drowning prevention, and growing the field of social entrepreneurship. For more information, visit www.redwoodsgroup.com/about-us/redwoods-group-foundation.

About Praesidium

Praesidium specializes in preventing sexual abuse in organizations that serve youth and vulnerable adults. In more than 25 years of existence, the company has reviewed over 4,000 cases of abuse within organizations to determine the root causes of sexual abuse within organizational settings. Praesidium employs more than 40 staff, including licensed social workers, lawyers, psychologists, health care researchers, and other experts. The company has served over 5,000 clients with a broad range of products and services to aid organizations in preventing abuse, including online and instructor‐led trainings; organizational risk assessments; model policies and incident investigations. Having trained more than one million people online and hundreds of thousands in person, Praesidium is the largest and most comprehensive sexual abuse risk management firm globally.