National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse – Bill Murray
If you have been listening into the show then you will know that one of the main areas that we are constantly discussing and hoping is introduced is the compulsory education of children in schools which has the education as age appropriate.The reason as to why we think that this is so important is very simple the more children know and are aware from a very young age that it is wrong for anybody to touch them in a certain manner or to hurt them in particular parts of there bodies, then we are ensuring that some not all but some children will be saved from child abuse.Child Abuse isnt always sexual,it can be neglect,physical,emotional,mental,to mention but a few.However we have on our site today the following post which Im sharing with you as it is great to see that at least in Illinois they are taking the appropriate steps to help protect our children from abuse.Prehaps you want to ring into the show tonight or go onto the chat room and let us know what you think about this addition to all childrens curriculums statewide.
Schools working on program to stop child sex abuse
by STEPHEN RICKERL
School districts statewide will have until the fall to incorporate expanded curriculum aimed at preventing child sexual abuse.
In January, Gov. Pat Quinn signed Erin’s Law; the measure builds on middle and high school sexual assault and abuse education and requires age-appropriate sexual abuse prevention education for students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade.
Erin’s Law was named after Erin Merryn, a Cook County woman, who was abused as a child. Merryn has become a national advocate in preventing child sexual abuse; her work has resulted in similar laws being passed in seven states. An additional 14 states are taking up Erin’s Law in 2012-13.
In Feb. 2011 Gov. Quinn signed Public Act 96-1524 creating Erin’s Law Task Force, which focused on the prevention of child sex-ual abuse within the Department of Children and Family Services.
According to the task force, there are more than 42 million survivors of child sexual abuse in the U.S., three million of them are still children. Child sexual abuse is referred to as the “silent epidemic;” most Illinoisans do not know it is a major issue in our state and country.
Child advocacy centers in Illinois in 2011 served 9,850 victims of child sexual and serious physical abuse, the task force reported. A National Institute of Justice study states child sexual abuse costs $35 billion a year annually.
The task force report stated, “while that number is staggering, it pales in comparison to the human casualties. Children who experience CSA have a multitude of adverse outcomes. They include: poor academic performance, dropping out of high school, self mutilation, persistent post traumatic stress disorder, drug and alcohol abuse, a ‘markedly’ increased risk for abuse in subsequent relationships, difficulty in forming meaningful and trusting relationships, cognitive deficits, depression, dissociative symptoms, and suicide. Early identification of victims and strong maternal support can significantly reduce the likelihood of the aforementioned human costs.”
Although aimed at protecting children, Quinn’s signing of the law created an unfunded mandate for school districts to implement the curriculum. With general state aid to school districts being cut my $861 million since 2009, superintendents and school boards were already scrambling to keep up.
Greg Goins, superintendent of Frankfort 168, said like other districts are doing their best to keep up with what resources they have available.
“We want to try to cover all the mandates, but it’s challenging at times,” said Goins.
Goins said he will meet with district principals to see what curriculum is in place and work on expanding that. He also plans to look to the Regional Office of Education as a resource.
“We are having ongoing discussions and will have a plan in place by the time school starts,” he said. “But who knows what will happen between now and the end of this legislative session. We’re just tying to keep up.”
Meghan Row, national prevention education representative for Childhelp, said her organization is getting creative in helping bring child abuse prevention curriculum to Illinois.
Row said although many schools are interested in providing their students with the knowledge to prevent abuse, schools do not have money in their budgets to do provide it.
Childhelp is trying to overcome the funding obstacle through Razoo, an online crowd funding platform for non-profit or-ganizations. The platform allows concerned community members the opportunity to donate funds that will go toward educating children in their school district on the prevention and intervention of child abuse.
Row said the cost of the curriculum, facilitator training and take home materials for the “Speak Up be Safe” program are $5 per student. Childhelp’s goal is to raise $50,000 in the next three weeks to bring the “Speak Up Be Safe” curriculum to Illinois schools. Funds generated in that timeframe will be matched, bringing a total of $100,000 in funding to provide child abuse prevention edu-cation.
The Speak Up Be Safe curriculum is a research-based, developmentally and culturally appropriate child abuse and bullying pre-vention program that provides children with the knowledge needed to intervene and ultimately prevent child abuse and bullying from happening, said Row.
“It really doesn’t sound like a whole lot of money in the grand scheme of things,” Row said. “With the match, it’s basically the opportunity for the community to double their money and help twice as many students in the state.”
Program costs include facilitator training, the curriculum and take home materials for the students. Among the take home materials are bookmarks that student give to someone in their life that they identify as a “safe adult.” Receiving the bookmark means that the student has identified that person as someone they will turn to in order to talk about any form of abuse. In turn, adults are provided with information on what to do if a child indicates they have been abused and how to talk to students about abuse.
Row said statistics show that one in four girls and one in six boys will be abused before they turn 18.
“For school districts and school officials to be able to provide a program like this to their students it will ultimately provide the students with the knowledge they need to interrupt it (abuse) if its happening to them and to be able to eventually prevent it happening in the future,” she said. “Ultimately it’s providing students with the knowledge they need in order to be safe.”