Child Abuse prevention: One in five children
sexually assaulted in Shelby County
SHELBY COUNTY, TN – There have been three child rape cases reported within days in Shelby County, and thousands within the past few months.
“90 percent of the time the abuser is someone that the child knows. 60 percent, it’s someone within the family’s circle,” said Kris Crim with the Memphis Child Advocacy Center.
Crim said many kids will keep the abuse a secret, because they feel confused or scared.
It’s why he’s been teaching adults about abuse through Stewards of Children program.
The course talks about what to look for.
“Often physical signs are not present. Sometimes they are. Often times they are not. We have to be in tune with emotional behavior. Things that may be happening like too perfect behavior or children acting out in certain ways,” he said.
Also, the program addresses conversations to have with children.
“Teaching children that no can be an appropriate response to adults if there’s an uncomfortable touch or something that makes them feel uncomfortable,” said Crim.
He said studies show one in five children in Shelby County are sexually abused by their 18th birthday. That’s double the national average.
“We know that over 80 percent of sexual abuse occurs in isolated one-on-one situations,” he said.
Child advocates said predators may not have a prior record or be listed on a sex offender registry.
They can come off as warm and loving to the outside world. It’s why they get away with the horrific acts.
It’s important to listen to your gut and talk to your child if something just doesn’t feel right.
If you suspect abuse, call the Tennessee Child Abuse hotline at 1-877-237-0004. You can remain anonymous, and you don’t have to know all the facts.
If you don’t report abuse, you can face criminal charges in Mississippi and Tennessee.
For more information about the Stewards for Children program, check out the Child Advocacy Center’s open enrollment sessions:
March 7, 1-3:30 p.m., Community Foundation office, 1900 Union Ave.
March 17, 9-11:30 a.m., Memphis Child Advocacy Center, 1085 Poplar Ave,
April 4, 1-3:30 p.m., Community Foundation
April 21, 9-11:30 a.m., Memphis Child Advocacy Center
April 30, 1-3:30 p.m., Community Foundation
Pre-registration is required. Contact Keita Cooley at 888-4362 or email@example.com.
The impacts of Child Abuse, through the
eyes of an officer
SPOKANE, WA – As the first ones to arrive on the scene of a crime, law enforcement officers see the impacts of child abuse firsthand.
“It’s something that you don’t get over quickly – it may never leave you,” said Spokane Police Officer John O’Brien. “It doesn’t get easier to deal with. It’s really hard to understand what’s going on in the minds of a parent or guardian that would do that to a child,” he said.
He says child abuse can affect anyone, in any situation. It’s not limited to a certain neighborhood or demographic. That’s part of what makes it difficult to address.
“A crime against an adult is horrible as it is, but when you have an innocent, defenseless child who doesn’t know they’re going to be victimized it’s devastating. There’s no way for that child to fight back or protect themselves,” O’Brien said.
Especially when a child’s life ends because of abuse.
“Officers, you know we have this uniform and we have a tough exterior at times but we are human and we have those same emotions it’s hard to see a child killed at the hands of another person,” O’Brien said.
When law enforcement responds to a child abuse call, they have a chance to break the cycle of abuse. That’s something that sticks with them.
“You often wonder did that make a difference? Did that turn the tide for them, that they’ve got clean, done any of the programs that have learned how to be a parent? Because parenting is not easy at times,” O’Brien said.
That’s why — police say— the community’s help is so critical.
“We can do our part, but we also want the community to help us do that part to say something to partner with us so that we can stop or do our best to at least reduce or eliminate child abuse,” O’Brien said.