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Early intervention is paramount to diminishing the lasting and devastating effects of sexual abuse.  While you may, rightfully, be in a state of disbelief that something occurred, don’t wait.

Sexual assault is not a gender-specific problem.  It happens to girls AND boys.  It happens at the hand of women AND men. And it will not end until we talk about it.  As it still exists today, you may find that you need resources to help a friend, a loved one or even yourself.

National Children’s Alliance Child abuse and other forms of childhood trauma can have lifelong effects on children, families, and communities. Many studies have shown the strong relationship between childhood trauma and serious outcomes such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, substance use, physical health problems, and even poverty and early death. But we can prevent these outcomes, especially when children receive services and support early on.

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) is the leading nonprofit in providing information and tools to prevent and respond to sexual violence. NSVRC translates research and trends into best practices that help individuals, communities and service providers achieve real and lasting change. The center also works with the media to promote informed reporting. Every April, NSVRC leads Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), a campaign to educate and engage the public in addressing this widespread issue. NSVRC is also one of the three founding organizations of Raliance, a national, collaborative initiative dedicated to ending sexual violence in one generation.

Within the United States each state has a coalition or alliance for victims and their families. The most comprehensive up to date database for these is The National Sexual Violence Resource Center. Link below.

Directory of Coalitions by state

OTHER RESOURCES:

Darkness to Light is a non-profit committed to empowering adults to prevent child sexual abuse. their work is guided by the vision of a world free from child sexual abuse, where children can grow up happy, healthy and safe.

It’s On Us a campaign launched in September 2014, is a national movement to end sexual assault. The campaign was launched following recommendations from the White House Task Force to Prevent Sexual Assault that noted the importance of engaging everyone in the conversation to end sexual violence. It’s On Us asks everyone – students, community leaders, parents, organizations, and companies – to step up and realize that the conversation changes with us.

Stop It Now was founded by Fran Henry, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse who learned first hand that standard approaches to keeping children safe from child sexual abuse at that time did not respond to the complex relationships surrounding most abuse. In 2015, Stop It Now! became an affiliate of Klingberg Family Centers, a private, nonprofit multi-service agency based in New Britain, CT. Founded in 1903, Klingberg’s mission is to extend hope and healing to children and families whose lives have been traumatized by abuse and/or neglect in its various forms, severe family problems, and mental health issues.

PAVE empowers students, parents, and civic leaders to end sexual violence with prevention education promoting respect for oneself and each other. Additionally, PAVE creates a safe space for survivors to thrive after trauma.

The Hunting Ground Since the film’s premiere at Sundance, it had been screened at the White House and hundreds of college campuses across the country. The documentary has inspired new laws in New York and California and changes in campus policies.

Parent Guide for college-age kids from The Hunting Ground.

 

Important things to note

Crime victim compensation

If you are a direct victim of a violent crime you may be eligible for crime victim compensation. There are strict guidelines that differ a little by state so check with your state specifically to find out what you may be eligible for.  Also important to know, an arrest does not have to be made to be awarded compensation.

Teaching consent

Stop it Now, reports that over a third of all sexual abuse of children is actually committed by someone under the age of 18. This presents many challenges for adults. It is not always easy to tell the difference between natural sexual curiosity and potentially abusive behaviors but it is also hard to think of our children as sexual beings. However, no means no and even young children need to be taught the vocabulary to say it.  In fact, teaching that only yes means yes can help tremendously.  The age of consent is different in each state, however.

Age of smart phones and social media

Regardless of when you choose to give your children a smart phone there are important things to know. For one, know the difference between sexting and pornography. Why is this important: 1. Sexting – it’s real. Kids use the camera to take pictures of their bodies and share them. 2. Not all states have caught up with their laws regarding sexting vs. porn. Child porn is a felony.

 

 

 

 

 

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Together we can journey into opening up, educating kids early and often, helping friends in a crisis and NOT being alone.

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