Sexual Abuse Prevention Tips
In the past decade Deschutes County has experienced unbelievable growth. With this growth comes increased crime rates and more specifically child sexual abuse. Our Sheriff’s Office has the task of investigating each reported sexual abuse and prosecuting the perpetrators. Victims of sexual abuse are left to cope with the violations that have happened to them through many hours of counseling sessions.
Current statistics show that at least 90% of abused children already know their perpetrator, so while strangers can be a threat, more often it is someone in the child's life.
The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office encourages everyone to sign up for the Darkness to Light - Stewards of Children Training program sponsored by Kids Center. The program seeks to protect children from sexual abuse by placing responsibility squarely on adult shoulders. Darkness to Light educated adults to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office makes it mandatory that all patrol deputies receive this training. It is very important to the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office to be involved in prevention of child abuse. We are proud to have Sheriff’s Office employees serve as facilitators for Darkness to Light as well as financial support to the KIDS Center. We have in our FY2013 budget $30,000 donation to support the Kids Center.
Darkness to Light - Stewards of Children has seven steps to protecting children:
Step 1: LEARN THE FACTS. UNDERSTAND THE RISKS.
Become aware of the significant threat that children face from child sexual abuse. Make decisions for children based on the facts of child sexual abuse rather than on level of trust in others.
Step 2: MINIMIZE OPPORTUNITY.
If you eliminate or reduce one-adult/one-child situations, you will dramatically lower the risk of sexual abuse for your child.
Step 3: TALK ABOUT IT.
Children often keep abuse a secret, but barriers can be broken down by talking openly about it.
Step 4: STAY ALERT.
Do not expect there to be obvious signs when a child is being abused. Signs of sexual abuse are often present – but the signs are often emotional or behavioral, not physical or verbal. It takes an adult to recognize these signs.
Step 5: MAKE A PLAN.
Learn where to go, who to call and how to react in the best interest of your child even if you have no suspicions that your child is being sexually abused. Formulating plan in advance can be of significant benefit to your child should abuse occur.
Step 6: ACT ON SUSPICIONS.
Being a silent bystander to sexual abuse could contribute to a lifetime of psychological and emotional problems for a child victim.
Step 7: GET INVOLVED.
Volunteer and financially support organizations that fight the tragedy of child sexual abuse. Use your voice and your vote to make your community a safer place for our children.
If you would like to attend a Darkness to Light training, or if you would like additional information, please call KIDSCenter at (541) 383-5958 or go on line to www.kidscenter.org.
Other important resources:
Deschutes County Mental Health (541) 322-7500
Mental Health Crisis Helpline (24 hours) (888) 232-7192
COBRA Sexual Assault Hotline (24 hours) (800) 356-2369 or (541) 389-7021
Central Oregon Family Resource Center (541) 389-5468
Legal Aid Services of Oregon (541) 385-694
Oregon State Bar (800) 452-7636
Deschutes County Victim Assistance (541) 388-6525
ASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) (541) 389-1618 To find out where the registered sexual offenders live near you go on-line at http://sexoffenders.oregon.gov. This is an Oregon State Police website that gives you recent sex offender registration information. Once in this site, if you click on “map offender” it will show you a map of sex offenders within a mile of where you live.
We at the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office hope you find the above information useful.