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NJ: Free training in identifying, preventing child sex abuse announced

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Free online sexual abuse identification and prevention training is being offered to all state residents as part of a “proactive approach to eradicating this abominable crime in the state of New Jersey,” Acting State Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced today.

In addition, all state Department of Law and Public Safety employees will be required to complete the online course, he said.

“Law enforcement will continue to crack down on this vicious crime,” Hoffman said. “Yet it is important to remember that it is everyone’s responsibility — be it teachers, friends, relatives or neighbors — to recognize the signs of abuse and report it to the proper authorities.

“As law enforcement and as parents, we owe it to our children to expose the perpetrators who commit these hideous crimes and bring them to justice,” he said.

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The two-hour “Stewards of Children” training program — offered in both English and Spanish — can be found at: https://d2l.csod.com

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It is provided by Darkness to Light, a nonprofit with the mission of reducing the incidence of child sexual abuse through public awareness:

“This is an unprecedented statewide investment in the prevention of child sexual abuse,” said Jolie Logan, president and CEO of Darkness to Light.

“Many adults do not know how to recognize signs of sexual abuse, and most do not know what to do if sexual abuse is discovered,” she said. “There is no greater gift than providing safe communities for children to grow up healthy and whole.”

According to the non-profit group:

· One in 10 children will be sexually abused before his or her 18th birthday, studies show;

· Child sexual abuse is linked to a host of societal issues including teen pregnancy, depression, anxiety and suicide;

· Victims are three times more likely to have substance abuse issues, two times more likely to drop out of school, and are at greater risk for physical illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other serious medical conditions;

· In the U.S. alone, there are an estimated 42 million adult survivors of child sexual abuse.

· Child sexual abuse ranks second to murder as the most expensive victim crime in the U.S. Immediate and long-term costs exceed $35 billion annually.

Local YMCAs have been holding events around New Jersey to spread the word about the training.

“All of us have a responsibility to protect our kids,” said William Lovett, executive director of the New Jersey Alliance of YMCAs.

( NOTE: If you suspect an incident of child sexual abuse, immediately contact your local police department or prosecutor’s office. You can also call Darkness to Light’s Helpline at 1-866-FOR-LIGHT .)

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