Illuminate Colorado, a statewide nonprofit dedicated to strengthening families, organizations and communities to prevent child maltreatment, aims to train more than 200,000 Coloradans to help children grow up happy, healthy and safe and prevent children from experiencing sexual abuse, according to a news release.
The nonprofit launched a new initiative in June focused on preventing child sexual abuse.
“When a community reaches a tipping point, the (culture) starts to change and that is what needs to happen to eliminate child sexual abuse in Colorado. This initiative is built around the idea that if enough adults get educated, then together, a new standard of child safety will be created in the community and ultimately throughout Colorado,” Anne Auld, director of education for Illuminate Colorado, said in the release.
The Tipping Point Initiative encourages all Coloradans to take the Darkness to Light Stewards of Children training, an evidence-informed, adult-focused child sexual abuse prevention program. Adults learn how to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse and feel empowered to spread their knowledge within the community, according to the release.
Over the last five years, the number of substantiated assessments of child sexual abuse has steadily risen, according to the Colorado Department of Human Services. Roughly 7% of the 286,606 allegations of child maltreatment in Colorado over the last five years involved concerns of sexual abuse; 28% of those concerns involved male children and 72% female children.
However, it is also believed that child sexual abuse is significantly underreported, according to the release. National experts estimate that one in 10 children will be sexually abused before the age of 18 and 90% of children who experience sexual abuse know their abuser, the release says.
Thanks in large part to support from the Colorado Children’s Trust Fund in the Office of Early Childhood at the Colorado Department of Human Services, this interactive prevention training is available anywhere in Colorado for free.
The two-hour training includes simple, effective prevention strategies for adults to use to protect children from sexual abuse, including how to reduce one-on-one situations when sexual abuse can occur and the importance of using anatomically correct terms for genitals with children to prevent child sexual abuse. The training also includes education on topics like recognizing signs of abuse, as well as practical guidance on how to respond in the moment when a child discloses abuse to you.
Illuminate, along with more than 80 local authorized facilitators throughout Colorado, have been promoting this training for several years with more than 7,000 people in Colorado trained today.
“This is no small feat, but it is a far cry from reaching the necessary critical milestone in child protection that is needed to effectively prevent child sexual abuse in Colorado,” the release says
The training is available both online and in-person, depending on local public health guidance. It is available in English and Spanish and approved nationally for two hours of continuing education for many professionals including nurses, social workers, dentists and dental hygienists.
Sign up online to learn more at TipColorado.org.