Monday, August 06, 2007

Do You Know How to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse?

The Sunday Review of Books featured an ad for yet another new book for children on "stranger danger" called "You're NOT my Daddy."

I inwardly groaned, thinking about the scared but earnest parents who would buy it and feel that they had protected their children from sexual abuse. But, what if it is their daddy -- or their step-daddy, their uncle, their coach, their teacher, their babysitter, their Sunday School teacher? Because, in 9 in 10 cases, people who sexually abuse children are well known to the child.

I am passionate about protecting children from sexual abuse. I know so many adults -- both friends and clients - - whose lives have been scarred from acts they endured as children. The statistics say 1 in 4 women, 1 in 6 men...but in private conversations it seems so much higher.

That's why I wrote the books "Balancing Acts" and "A Time to Heal", to help congregations prevent abuse and consider the possibility of how to safely minister to an offender. I am pleased to tell you that there is now an online course on these issues, developed in conjunction with the UUA and the New England Adolescent Research Institute, and it is FREE. I am grateful to Joan Tabachnick, my co-author of the course, and NEARI for making this happen. I hope you'll let clergy and lay leaders in YOUR congregation know about this new resource and encourage them to take the course. It will be a valuable resource if you wanted to know more about healthy childhood sexual development, the signs of potential abuse, people with history of sex offenses, and what YOU can do to protect children.

The new course was featured in an AP story in newspapers across the country this weekend. You can read it at I'm hoping that the publicity means that more congregations will start looking at what they can do.


Scott Prinster said...

Thanks so much for fighting the good fight on this subject, Deborah. I wish that our nation could be brave enough to look collectively at the things that frighten us, instead of turning to false security. Your work is such an important ministry.

smkyqtzxtl said...

My family is dealing with the fall out from sexual abuse, PTSD and attachment disorder with depression, all done in and around a church setting. It is best to stop it before it starts.