HARDYSTON, NJ - Child sexual abuse is a silent, secret, and underreported crime that crosses every socioeconomic boundary:

  • It’s estimated that one in seven girls and one in 25 boys will be sexually abused during their childhood.
  • In 90 percent of cases, the abuser is known and trusted by the child.
  • Nearly 75 percent of victims keep silent about the abuse for at least for a year, and many never tell what was done to them.
  • There are an estimated 42 million adult survivors of child sexual abuse in the United States, where the immediate and long-term costs of the crime exceed $35 billion a year.

The Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges, the largest association of YMCAs in New Jersey serving 35,000 members, has taken a leadership role to combat child sexual abuse in the communities it serves.

  • Stewards of Children, a curriculum that teaches adults about child sexual abuse and how to identify unsafe situations and practices and react responsibly.
  • The Metro Y is one of only three organizations in New Jersey to achieve Partner in Prevention status from Darkness to Light for training more than 90% of its staff in Stewards of Children.
  • The Metro Y has launched the ‘Kids Matter’ campaign to encourage adults to take the Stewards of Children training, which it offers free of charge online.  The Metro Y also provides in-person training sessions.
  • Building on its commitment to protecting children, the Metro Y last year appointed a full-time child safety director to oversee training and other initiatives at its six branches.

During National Child Abuse Prevention Month in April, please help raise awareness about this predatory crime. The Metro Y can connect you with residents who have had their eyes opened through Stewards of Children training.  Metro Y Senior Director of Child Safety Maureen Simons would be an excellent resource.

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“We believe child sex abuse can be stopped if adults learn how to intercede and prevent it, and we’re committed to taking a lead role to train 21,000 people over the coming years,’’ said Metro Y President and CEO Richard K. Gorab.

Please contact Maureen Simons at (973) 758-9622 for more information. The free, two-hour online Stewards of Children course is available at http://www.metroymcas.org/preventnow along with information about upcoming in-person training sessions.

Established in 1885, the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges is the largest association of YMCAs in New Jersey, serving more than 35,000 individuals and providing more than $1.2 million in financial assistance. Its six YMCAs, located in East Orange, Livingston, Maplewood, Hardyston, Stillwater and Wayne, are committed to nurturing the potential of kids, promoting healthy living, and fostering a sense of social responsibility. They offer an array of programs that build spirit, mind and body for people of all ages and all circumstances.

Darkness to Light (D2L) has championed the movement to end child sexual abuse since its founding in 2000. With affiliates in all 50 U.S. states and 16 additional countries, D2L provides individuals, organizations, and communities with the tools to protect children from sexual abuse. To date, the D2L network of 750,000 authorized facilitators has trained over 900,000 parents, youth serving professionals, and organization volunteers in D2L’s award-winning Stewards of Children® child sexual abuse prevention program.