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DELAWARE.- Five Days that can protect them for a lifetime.
That’s the mission of the YMCA’s Five Days of Action initiative, a week bringing awareness to child sexual abuse and ways to prevent, recognize, and report it. “I think its a scary, unpleasant topic for many people but we in the YMCA are all about prevention. We put everything we can in place to make sure these types of things don’t happen,” said Bowles.
CEO Of YMCA Delaware, Deborah Bowles, says over the past few years the organization has trained over 10,000 community members in child abuse prevention. Yet, she says there are still unreported cases because many may be unsure what they’re actually witnessing. “Its important to know that it is okay to report, even if you aren’t sure. And that child protection agencies will do the investigations,” said Bowles
Mental Health experts says that if you see a child acting out to not look past it as a stage of life, but an indicator that something could be going on. “If that changes all of a sudden and a young person is doing all of these things they haven’t done before, that is a clue that they’re upset about something,” said Child Psychologist Dr. Kathy Seifert
Experts also say the biggest part of prevention is simply opening up the conversation. “Well how was your day? Anything happen today that you want tell me about? But have those conversations regularly,” said Dr. Seifert.
The YMCA says they expect thousands of little ones in their camps this summer and they’re goal is to keep them safe. They also have a message for parents.. “Parents its really important too that you understand where your child is being placed and what the child protections policies are in that school, that program, and that camp. That’s important. You want to ask those questions,” said Bowles.
And not speaking up does more harm than good. “There’s no reason to take a chance that something’s going to happen,” said Dr. Seifert.
Mental health experts say therapy can help spark these conversations if they don’t feel comfortable speaking with a loved one. If you are a youth- serving organization that would like to sign up or download the Five Days of Action Kit just visit fivedaysofaction.org