Due to recent allegations of child sexual abuse in several high-profile cases across the country, there is even more of a need for heightened public awareness about the importance of protecting youth from sexual abuse by both strangers and familiar adults. While children are usually taught the dangers of strangers, sadly some 90 percent of child sexual abuse is committed by a person the child and his or her family know. This child abuse threat needs more attention from adults, teachers, coaches, mentors and trusted adult friends alike.
Organisations that serve youth also have a strong responsibility to better protect children from becoming victims of child sexual abuse. Often, children or youth who have endured sexual abuse feel shame and are too traumatised to report their abuser or to even tell a trusted adult. They need help for their emotional or physical injuries. An integral part of preventing, responding to and eliminating this form of child abuse is increasing the awareness of the key signs of this horrible activity.
All organisations that provide activities for youth have one characteristic in common: they provide an opportunity for access to children. For that reason, these clubs, centres, teams, troops, etc., have a clear responsibility to implement safeguards to prevent child predators from gaining access, and to respond to reported incidents, allegations and evidence of such abuse…IMMEDIATELY.