Op-ed: Let’s Work Together to End Child Sexual Abuse in Kentucky

FRANKFORT, KY. (March 8, 2016) – “As a father of a five- and six-year-old, preventing child abuse is personal to me. I’m committed to do everything I can as Attorney General to protect all of Kentucky’s children from abuse.

Like me, Kentucky’s First Lady Glenna Bevin feels a duty to advocate for the welfare of Kentucky’s children. We decided that the best way to help keep our children and your children safe is to better educate professionals and the public on prevention. That’s why we teamed up to launch three statewide child sexual abuse training programs.

Sexual abuse is one of the most devastating forms of abuse for children. It robs them of their childhood, and they often carry the scars with them forever. It happens more frequently than anyone likes to believe. There are far too many predators. Statistics suggest one out of every 214 males in Kentucky is a registered sex offender. There are also many more victims than we think, as only five to 13 percent of victims even disclose their abuse.

The trainings in your community will increase child safety, community policing and crime prevention initiatives. They are going to help us protect more children and arrest more pedophiles.

The first training, What Sex Offenders Can Teach You, features Cory Jewell Jensen, M.S, a nationally recognized child advocate and the co-director of the Center for Behavioral Intervention. Jensen will teach participants how to protect children from molester selection and grooming, and reveals advice that sex offenders have shared with her over her 30-year career.

The training will be held across the state in each of the 15 Area Development Districts (ADDs) in coordination with the 15 Child Advocacy Centers. This training is for prosecutors, law enforcement, child and victim advocates, religious affiliates, medical personnel, educators, and others who are in a position to protect children.

The second training, Protecting Our Children: Advice from Child Molesters, will also cover information from Jensen. Two participants from your community, one from law enforcement and one prevention advocate, are being recruited to attend this training. Afterwards, they will return to provide trainings to groups in your community. The training is scheduled for May 4 and 5 in Lexington.

The final training, Using Technology to Keep Children Safe from Sexual Abuse and Exploitation, is an Internet safety train-the-trainer program and features an Internet Safety Toolkit. The training will be held in Lexington on May 18 and 19. This training is open to everyone and will be available online. Parents should definitely take advantage of the online resources.

These trainings are also special in that they represent one of the largest collaborations between government and the nonprofit community. Partners who made the trainings possible include: Office of Victims Advocacy, Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky, the Department for Criminal Justice Training, the Kentucky Association of Child Advocacy Centers, and the Department for Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disabilities. Only by coming together can we protect our children.

I encourage those interested in attending any of these trainings to visit my website, http://ag.ky.gov/csatrainings, to learn more and register. And, if you want to help support victims of child sexual abuse, visit your county clerk’s office and request an I Care About Kids license plate or check the box on your tax return to designate a portion to the CVTF.

Remember, reporting child abuse is not just a moral obligation, it is the law. My hope is that each year this will be a growing collaboration to save children from a lifetime of fear and hurt.

I have made it my mission to protect Kentucky families. Every day my office is working to prevent child abuse, address drug abuse, seek justice for victims of rape and protect seniors.

Together, we can make our communities safer.” – Attorney General Andy Beshear.

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