April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and the Westfield Area YMCA is designating a week to raise awareness and understanding of child sexual abuse. From April 24-28 leading up to Healthy Kids Day on April 29, the Westfield Area YMCA is joining YMCAs across the nation to inform the community on how to recognize, prevent and report child sexual abuse. This effort is part of the Y’s ongoing commitment to provide safe, enriching environments where children can learn, grown and thrive.
According to studies by Darkness to Light, about one in ten children experience the trauma of sexual abuse before age 18, typically at the hands of someone the child knows and trusts. Abuse happens to children of all ages, genders, races, faiths and socioeconomic classes.
“Child sexual abuse is a broad-based, too-common crime in our country today, but the good news is that we as a community can work together to prevent abuse,” said Susan Morton, Westfield Area YMCA Vice President of Operations. “At the Y, we are fully committed to doing our part to protect kids. Throughout the year, the Y works to prevent abuse by partnering with Darkness to Light to provide Stewards of Children® training, which is based on The 5 Steps to Protecting Our Children™. The 5 steps are: Learn the Facts, Minimize Opportunity, Talk About It, Recognize the Signs, and React Responsibly.”