Letter to the Editor: Know signs of sexual abuse

Dear Editor:
Connections 4 Kids, the early childhood council serving Moffat and Rio Blanco counties, hosted sexual abuse-prevention workshops for parents and anyone who works with children in May in Craig and Meeker.
We would like to thank Meghan Hurley of River Bridge Regional Center in Glenwood Springs for presenting the workshops and bringing a new level of consciousness and understanding about sexual abuse to our communities.
Our hope is to protect children from sexual abuse, teach parents how to communicate with children about this difficult topic and to have a prepared and educated community of adults who can recognize the signs of sexual abuse and get children the help they need to heal.
We want to share these 10 tips from Meghan Hurley about how parents can protect their children from sexual abuse and encourage parents.
• Teach your child what sexual abuse is and that it has most likely happened to someone they know.
• Know who sexually offends. Do not rely on the sexual offender registry.
• Teach your child that “secrets are unsafe.” Kids are scared to tell and most likely don’t.
• Be able to recognize the “grooming” process.
• Teach your child “my private body” rules.
• Make sexual abuse prevention part of your normal parent-child interactions. Use everyday opportunities.
• Know the signs of sexual abuse.
• Create a safe environment.
• Make your child a least likely victim.
• Know how to respond.
For more information about sexual abuse or to find out about upcoming opportunities to learn more, visit www.riverbridgerc.org.
Michelle Balleck
Connections 4 Kids coordinator
Rio Blanco County

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