One local church brings awareness to child sexual abuse
COLUMBIA – About one in 10 children are subject to sexual abuse, according to a local expert on the subject.
The Compass Evangelical Free Church will host a Stewards of Children Sexual Abuse Prevention training from 5:30 to 8:30 Sunday night. The event is free to the public.
“Things I find parents enjoy most about this training is I start from pre-school all the way forward on how to have conversations with their children,” said Kelly Schultz, a Child Advocate for the state of Missouri.
Schultz is also certified in the Stewards of Children program, which is a chapter of the Darkness to Light organization. The organization is a non-profit with the goal to prevent chid sexual abuse.
According to Schultz, the training is important.
“Parents that are my age probably learned not to talk to strangers, not to take candy from a stranger or pet a puppy at a park, and so we used to train children to be responsible for their safety,” she said. “We’ve really shifted our approach and we’re educating adults that they are the ones that are responsible for children.”
Schultz said a few members of the Compass church attended one of her other trainings. That's what led them to bringing the Stewards of Children training to their church.
Pastor Mark Anderson was one of those members. In an email to KOMU 8 News, he said he attended the training and wanted other members of the church to have the same opportunity as he did.
He was the one to set up the training.
“It is for every single adult,” Schultz said. “Whether you’re a parent, whether you’re in a child-serving organization or whether you’re just an interested member of the community, we absolutely can get ahead of and prevent child sexual abuse.”
Schultz said if you believe a child has been sexually abused or is in danger of being sexually abused, call the child abuse and neglect hotline: 1-800-392-3738.