Jackson County Family Connection, in partnership with Adults Protecting Children, has launched a county-wide child sexual abuse prevention initiative.  Our goal is to help put an end to the sexual abuse of children and to make Jackson County the safest place in Georgia to raise children.  Our strategy is to train adults in how to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.  We believe that there must be a focus on prevention!

When you consider the resources necessary to treat the survivors of sexual abuse, prevention just makes sense. It costs far less to prevent abuse than to treat victims, yet there is a lack of agencies dedicated exclusively to prevention. This is why we have Stewards of Children Darkness to Light Training.
Our training uses a curriculum called “Stewards of Children.” This material was created by Darkness to Light in Charleston, SC. The Stewards of Children training won the 2007 Crime Prevention Program of the Year Award and is the only third-party evaluated, evidence-based materials directed toward adults that has been proven over time to change the protective behaviors of adults, thus resulting in better protection of children.

One of the most proactive and pragmatic approaches to diminishing child sexual abuse is through a collaborative effort in a community where every adult is engaged in the battle to protect children. We do this through Prevent Now Community Awareness Campaigns. These campaigns bring together key organizations and leaders across each county to work toward eliminating child sexual abuse by training adults in each county. The goal is to reach the “tipping point” in each county.
In the book The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell shows that when your message reaches 5% of any population, you reach a point of such momentum that you can bring about a cultural shift and, with continued effort, a cultural change. We want to change attitudes and behaviors of adults around the issue of child sexual abuse from one where the problem of child sexual abuse is shrouded in fear and denial, which leaves kids at risk, to one where all the adults in the community are working together to prevent it and kids are safe. We want our county to be able to say with its words and actions that child sexual abuse simply will not be tolerated!

Our Goal:   The tipping point for Jackson County is 2,222 adults.
Our Core Values: We believe it ought to be the adults in a child’s life that must protect that child.
Prevention Driven: We believe an emphasis on prevention is the best response to the epidemic of child sexual abuse.
Community Based: No one organization can bring about the significant changes necessary to prevent child sexual abuse.
Cultural Change: We are about nothing less than changing how our culture and community protects our children.

The Statistics are SHOCKING! 
•1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday
•90% of children who are sexually abused know their abusers (fewer than 10% are abused by strangers)
•30-40% are abused by family members
•The median age for reported sexual abuse is 9 years old
•50% of all victims of forcible sodomy, sexual assault with an object, and forcible fondling are under the age of 12
•There are an estimated 39 million survivors of sexual abuse in America (compared to 12 million cancer survivors)

Think about these facts and then think about the children in your world. How prepared are you and the adults in the lives of these children to know how to prevent child abuse, how to recognize the signs of abuse and how to react responsibly if abuse has occurred? Our program not only makes adults more aware of the issues surrounding child sexual abuse, but gives them tools to help them become “stewards of children.”

When you stop child sexual abuse, you stop so much more:
•60% of teen-?rst pregnancies are preceded by an experience of child sexual abuse •70-80% of sexual abuse survivors report excessive drug and alcohol use
•50% of sexual abuse victims report having suicidal thoughts and 20% have attempted suicide
•Young girls who are sexually abused are more likely to develop eating disorders during adolescence
•Victims of child sexual abuse report more depression and are more likely to drop out of school
•Victims of sexual abuse have more physical and mental health problems lasting into adulthood

How You Can Help Our Prevent Now Initiative:
•Attend a Stewards of Children training
•Host a Stewards of Children training in your organization, business or church
•Become a facilitator trained to teach Stewards of Children
•Host a Prevent Now Community Awareness meeting to bring awareness of the issue and the initiative •Provide scholarships for groups to be trained
•Identify funding sources for the Jackson County Initiative