Educate yourself to the signs of child abuse & be able to talk about it with others. There are indicators of possible childhood abuse, but most importantly trust your instincts. If you suspect abuse, contact authorities… you do not need proof.
* Changes in Behavior – scared, anxious, depressed, withdrawn, aggressive, etc.
* Displaying Earlier Behaviors – thumb sucking, bed wetting, fear of dark, etc.
* Fear of Going Places – home, school, gym, etc.
* Unexplained Injuries – visible physical indicators with unconvincing explanations
* Dramatic Change In Eating – weight loss or gain
* Changes in Sleeping – tired, nightmares, inability to fall asleep
* Changes at School – dropping grades, excessive absences
* Neglect in Personal Care – dirty, unkept, wrong clothing for season
* High Risk Behavior – drug/alcohol use, carrying items for protection
* Sexual Behavior – explicit, graphic language, overly sexual
If a child comes to you;
remain calm overreact
show concern/interest press the child to talk
show belief make promises beyond your control
allow the child to talk confront the offender
reassure the child minimize their feelings or situation
contact authorities overwhelm with questions
Under Law you are obligated to report suspected child abuse.
If a child is in immediate danger call 911
DHCAC is a non-profit organization whose mission is to combat child abuse by coordinating services to children and their families in crisis and providing community education focused on prevention and early intervention. We accomplish the community education portion of our mission through our Prevention Program, consisting primarily of the Stewards of Children training, the Prevent Now program, and Signs and Symptoms of Child Sexual Abuse. Adults need to be trained to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse, therefore our prevention program is focused on training for school systems and teachers, churches, day care workers, volunteers and staff employed by child and youth serving organizations, corporations, parents, and the general public. DHCAC is currently providing Stewards of Children training for Williamson County Schools and for the Franklin Special School District. The Stewards of Children program is both research-based and award winning curriculum. Darkness to Light, the company that produces the program, has participated in several multi-year studies that have consistently shown that the Stewards of Children program increases knowledge, improves attitudes and changes participant’s behavior over the long-term in relation to child sexual abuse. Evidence also indicates that for every one person trained, ten children are better able to be protected. Also, the National Crime Prevention Council named Stewards of Children the Crime Prevention Program of the Year for 2007.
Davis House Child Advocacy Center started with one authorized facilitator two years ago and now has five authorized facilitators for Stewards of Children, training hundreds of individuals in our four county service area including Hickman, Lewis, Perry, and Williamson counties. In 2010, the Child Advocacy Center also launched a Prevent Now Initiative with the goal to train over 6,500 individuals in Stewards of Children program in the next five years. Prevent Now and Signs and Symptoms of Child Sexual Abuse are training programs designed to provide preliminary or initial training that serves as a conduit to the more intensive and lengthy Stewards of Children. Collectively, these programs guide organizations and individuals through the development of sexual abuse prevention policies and procedures, steps to prevention and recognition, and action activities aimed at appropriate reaction and early intervention. All programs are important steps toward creating environments that are safe for children, and critical for maintaining a healthy and safe community.