The Carroll County Child Advocacy Center (CCCAC) launched its Keep Kids Safe Challenge to encourage adults to partake in an educational training course that helps prevent child sexual abuse.
The challenge kicked off in January and will continue throughout the year as businesses and organizations in Carroll, Haralson and Heard counties participate in the Stewards of Children Darkness to Light program. Those who train and certify more than 90% of their employees or members are named Partners in Prevention with CCCAC.
“When we were trying to think of ideas to get more of the community involved in receiving the training, we thought the challenge could be similar to the ALS Bucket Challenge that was popular several years ago,” said Allison Robinson, Prevention Coordinator for CCCAC. “Each month we are challenging one of our Partners in Prevention to challenge two other groups to participate. It can be a small group or a big group.”
Carroll Electric Membership Cooperative and 3:16 Healthcare were among the first local businesses to be named Partners in Prevention alongside the latest recipient, UWG sorority Kappa Delta who trains all of its new members. The two-hour training sessions are available both online and in-person for free to any individual or organization interested in becoming a partner or receiving the certification.
“The shocking thing is, one in 10 children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday,” said Robinson. “90% of those children who are abused know their abuser—it is someone that the family knows and trusts. 80% of the time it happens in isolated situations. In the Darkness to Light training, participants learn the five steps on how to minimize those opportunities for abusers, and they learn the facts of child sexual abuse and how to recognize the signs.
“For a few months in 2020 we were not hosting in-person training, but we started back in July with small groups,” continued Robinson. “Those are much more effective because you have group discussions that are so eye-opening.”
Individuals wanting to participate in the online training can visit the Darkness to Light website to enroll. The virtual session consists of video segments, readings and quizzes the participant must complete before certification is provided. Those interested in hosting an in-person training session, which entails video segments and group discussions, can reach out to CCCAC directly.
Since 2014 CCCAC has trained more than 12,600 adults in child sexual abuse prevention through the Darkness to Light program. Carroll County alone is the largest county in the state of Georgia to have 10% of its population certified and is one of only five counties to reach the tipping point goal. Robinson, who has served as Prevention Coordinator for more than five years, is hoping to get Haralson and Heard counties to reach the same goal.
“We are trying to prevent families from having to come in in the first place,” said Robinson. “Our statistics are shocking. In 2020 well over 300 families came into the center to have forensic interviews conducted. Just this year we have conducted more than 40. So our huge goal is prevention.
“We are protectors, and our goal is to just prevent child sexual abuse from happening in the first place and keep spreading awareness,” continued Robinson. “Just knowing I have helped even one family from prevention—that just makes me feel better about the job I am doing.”