“People abuse children from all walks of life,” explains Don Dymer, chief executive officer and president of SingleSource background screening company. The Centers for Disease Control reports that more than 500,000 children in the United States are sexually molested each year. But molesters are rarely caught and since most children will never report the abuse, there is little linking these molesters to the horrible abuse and little or no chance they will convicted and stopped.
April is National Stop Child Abuse month and Don Dymer wants to share some helpful advice on what people can do to help stop this horrible abuse. “It requires accepting certain givens most of us don’t want to face.”
1. Child Molesters are nice people on the surface. Research shows they are educated, married or previously married, religious and present as the everyday typical person.
2. Watch for certain behavior p atterns. Are they unusually helpful in children events and back away from volunteers jobs that don’t involve children? Do they show too much attention to one child, frequently engaging in tickling or rough housing? Sexual abusers groom both their victims and the parents and guardians.
3. Do they seek alone time with a child? Giving gifts for no reason? Showing favoritism?
What Do I do if a child tells me that he/she has been sexually abused?
Dymer continues, “The foundation, From Darkness to Light tells us that studies show that children rarely report abuse when it is occurring. As adults we need to be alert to signs that something might be wrong. But if a child does come to you here is critical advice from the Child Molestation Research & Prevention Institute on what you should do if a child is brave enough to share their pain with you.”
1. Take the time to really listen to the child when they want to talk.
2. Believe what you are hearing no matter how unfathomable it sounds. (remember 90% of abuse is done by someone the child knows, trusts and loves.)
3. Assure the child that they are doing the right thing by telling and you will get help.
4. Never blame or punish the child or show anger.
5. Control your emotions. Your reaction to the abuse might be viewed as directed toward the child, assure the child that you are not angry at them.
6. Do Not Take Notes while the child is talking to you. Listen intently and afterwards quickly document the disclosure.
7. If you are an employee or volunteer and hear of the abuse, immediately report the incident to your supervisor, but remember that this doesn’t remove your obligation to report the incident to the proper authorities.
8. If you represent the organization at which the abuse occurred, you must report the child’s disclosure to law enforcement or child protective agency as specified by the laws in your particular state.
9. Follow-Up! If you report it to a higher authority or supervisor or report it to law enforcement make sure you follow up to see that the problem is being addressed.
What Else Can I Do To Prevent Child Sexual Abuse?
“If it was easy to prevent child sexual abuse, it wouldn’t be such a widespread epidemic”, points out Dymer. “As a result of the Penn State scandal schools, organizations and groups specializing in providing youth services are now focused on the importance of carefully conducting background screens on all volunteers and hires who will come into contact with children and youth.
“All organizations, including non profits must establish a clearly defined child sexual abuse prevention checklist and should learn about the Diana Screen®, a scientifically proven risk management tool that will help keep children safe from sexual abuse.” explains Dymer. Behind the Diana Screen are 18 years of research, six NIMH Grants and 2 pilot studies with the Episcopal Church Pension Fund and the Boys & Girls Club of America. The test identifies men and women most likely to violate sexual boundaries with children and teens.
Criminal background checks and all other traditional methods of background screening are still necessary. “The screen should be incorporated as part of a clearly established on-boarding program for hires and for volunteers and administrated with great care and respect for existing compliance policies.” says Dymer. “As with all screening, good programs are useless if poorly administrated. That is why if organizations are interested, please call me at SingleSource Services at 1-888.241.1148. It is a five minute call that can change a child’s life forever.
SingleSource Services is located in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.The company provides background screening to over 2,500 business across a wide variety of industries and non-profit organizations. SingleSource was founded in 1995 and believes that backgrounds are like fingerprints and prides itself on its long term customer relationships and a strong commitment to fulfill its corporate civic duties.