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Child Sexual Abuse Prevention and Reporting: It’s Everyone’s Responsibility

by Donna Rafanello
January/February 2010
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/child-sexual-abuse-prevention-and-reporting-its-everyones-responsibility/5019150/

"Children should be seen and heard and believed."
— Source unknown

BOX:
Clarissa (5) does not speak at school.

Isaac (3) says, "I'm sorry" in every interaction with his teachers.

Adam (6) humps stuffed animals in the classroom.

Victoria (6) inserted her finger into a classmate's vagina.

LaTonya (4) said, "If someone wants to have sex with you, you have to do it."

END BOX


Each of these vignettes is true and I witnessed them firsthand in my more than 20-year career in ECE. I wish I had never heard or seen these things, but I did. Much as I wish I didn't live in a world where adults sexually victimize children, I do. And the children in each of the vignettes above were being abused or had been abused in the past. Luckily for them, I knew what to look for, how to make a report, and had the courage to follow through. Can you say the same?

Introduction

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International ­Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN) (2006) report,

"Child maltreatment is a huge global problem with a serious impact on the victims' physical and mental health, well-being, and development through their lives — and, by extension, on society ...

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