27 Jan, 2021

Sexual Abuse Prevention

Child Sexual Abuse Prevention: A New State Law

Pure Freedom is a holistic education program that strives to equip students with the knowledge on how to achieve optimal health in their relationships and lives in general. Our staff is a team of dedicated educators who are committed to pursuing ongoing education in order to always stay up-to-date in their expertise and teaching practices. In this regard, we now comply with all the requirements released by the Missouri Department of Education on sexual abuse prevention education. You can review the requirements of RSMo §170.045 for the 2020-2021 school year here.

As you can see, the statute states that all schools should teach students in grades 6-12 how to:

  • Recognize sexual abuse, 
  • Report an incident of sexual abuse, 
  • Obtain assistance and intervention in case of sexual abuse, 
  • Find available resources for students affected by sexual abuse.

In addition, the education provided should be trauma-informed and developmentally appropriate.

What is a trauma-informed and developmentally appropriate education?

A “trauma-informed” education recognizes that some students may have experienced some kind of sexual abuse in their lives. Therefore, the educator should take this fact into consideration to create a learning environment that is safe and comfortable for all students. This means showing a compassionate consideration in behaviors, vocabulary used, as well as in the proposed activities.

As for “developmentally appropriate”, this means that the information and materials presented in class should be in alignment with not only the age but also the level of development of each child. 

Pure Freedom does provide trauma-informed and developmentally appropriate education, including segments on child sexual abuse. 

Why is child sexual abuse prevention essential to address?

Despite the fact that the occurrence of child sexual abuse is tough to quantify, experts agree that it is more prevalent than one might think.

According to the estimates based on multiple studies:

  • About one in four girls experience child sexual abuse,
  • And about one in thirteen boys experience it too. 

But child sexual abuse often goes unreported, especially since most victims were abused by someone they knew.

And an experience of child sexual abuse can affect all aspects of someone’s life. It can lead to depression, the inability to form healthy relationships, the display of risky sexual behaviors, unexpected pregnancies, and more. 

Because of the gravity of the crime, child sexual abuse prevention is vital. 

Why teaching sexual abuse prevention in schools?

According to research, parents are at the forefront of child sexual abuse prevention via two pathways: direct and indirect. They need to be involved directly by setting protective barriers and being present in their lives. But they can also help them stay safe by fostering competence and confidence in themselves by loving them and telling them how valuable they are. 

But because school is where kids spend most of their time during the day, schools are “in a unique position to help young people shape positive, healthy attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that work to prevent sexual abuse”, write the Missouri Departement of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

In doing so, the school staff should promote respect, confidentiality, and a structured class environment that make every student feel at ease. 

With this in mind, we realize that this kind of teaching cannot be improvised and requires both knowledge and practical skills. This is why Pure Freedom offers webinars and workshops to parents and school professionals to aid with sexual abuse prevention. Read our event page to learn more. 

How Pure Freedom incorporates child sexual abuse in its curriculum:

Pure Freedom has always recognized the necessity of sexual abuse prevention education, and therefore, the topic has long been part of our curriculum. Our educators are certified in trauma-informed training classrooms through the Professional Education Systems Institute and have been teaching sexual abuse awareness and prevention skills since before the release of the new state requirements. However, we have recently updated our curriculum portion on child sexual abuse through grades six to twelve, making it more cohesive and fully compliant with the latest requirements.

Pure Freedom’s goal is to equip students with information and strengthen their relationships with supportive members of their family and school community. You can read more about our approach here

Are you a school teacher or director? If your school is looking to meet this statute, we would love to help you. Our 3-day program includes all the requirements on sexual abuse prevention and we offer it to you at no cost.

Contact us now to schedule one of our certified educators to speak with your students this year!

Resources:

https://www.revisor.mo.gov/main/OneSection.aspx?section=170.045&bid=47872&hl=

https://dese.mo.gov/sites/default/files/curr-hpe-child-sexual-abuse-prevention-training-for-missouri-students-presentation.pdf

https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childabuseandneglect/childsexualabuse.html

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1077559517729479

https://www.deepdyve.com/lp/i-manager-publications/awareness-of-good-and-bad-touch-among-children-wkyqgpH0ky?articleList=%2Fsearch%3Fquery%3Dconsequences%2Bof%2Bchild%2Bsexual%2Babuse%26dateFrom%3D2016-01-01 

Written by Elodie Takamiya.