Addressing sex abuse at a young age

AUSTIN, Minn. – As part of a month-long effort to discuss child sex abuse, one county is empowering young students to speak out.

Each year, more than 300,000 kids are the victims of sexual assault in the country, that’s according to the American Psychological Association.

In Mower County the Crime Victims Resource Center is paying visits to second grade classrooms as a way to instruct students on how to interpret inappropriate behavior.

“Sometimes it can be difficult for children to be able to process that but it’s also a  very good and healthy conversation to have with the parents and people here at school,” said Joe Kroc, Neveln Elementary School Social Worker.

All month-long, Joe Kroc of Neveln Elementary School is working with the Crime Victims Center, to help bring the message of sex abuse awareness.

“The biggest challenge is you are dealing with an age group that is not savvy about the world they don’t have adult experiences to draw on their not really adept at formulating and explaining what they saw or what may have happened to them,” said Capt. David McKichan, Austin Police Department.

According to Capt. McKichan and those at Neveln Elmentary, the challenge to these kids,  is simple.

“To report to a trusted adult if someone is making you feel uncomfortable and your body feel unsafe, that you need to go to a trusted adult and report that right away,” said McKichan.

Reporting abuse is an issue that doesn’t affect just young people.

Adult victims often avoid their abusers, who many times, they know, but with young victims, the emphasis is on bringing positive adult role models into their lives, who are willing to step forward.

“The child is not going to be capable of driving down here walking down into our L.E.C and telling us they like to make a report about what’s going on them. So those other people in the child’s life are of paramount importance if abuse and neglect or other things are going on,” said McKichan.

For more information about the second grade sexual abuse prevention education program, call Crime Victims Resource Center at 507-437-6680 or 1-800-349-6680.

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