Kiowa County Becomes the First County to Reach Child Safety Tipping Point

Kiowa County Becomes the First County to Reach Child Safety Tipping Point

Illuminate Colorado is excited to announce this week that Kiowa County is the first county in the state of Colorado to reach the tipping point to create a new standard of child safety in the community. In June of last year, llluminate launched the Tip Colorado Initiative aimed at training more than 200,000 Coloradans to protect children from sexual abuse.

Calculating the number of people who need to receive training in every county in Colorado and understanding what is necessary to create REAL social change in a community, Illuminate identified the tipping point for our state, as well as each county, where children grow up happy, healthy and safe in communities that prevent children from being sexually abused. 

Visit TipColorado.org

People all over Colorado can visit an interactive map on the initiative’s website to find out the number of people trained in their county today and learn how many more community members need to get trained to reach the tipping point in their county.

Local authorized facilitators Amber Settles and Lisa Thomas were instrumental in training the population of Kiowa County to reach this milestone. “We all need this training as a starting point, so we know where to go for help and support to grow our skills and advocate for the kids in our daily lives,” Settles said. “We as adults need to advocate and speak for the voiceless.” 

As the state intermediary and authorized facilitator of the Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children® Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Program, Illuminate is strengthening families, organizations and communities by supporting more than 80 local authorized facilitators in delivering, to their communities, the only evidence-informed, adult-focused child sexual abuse prevention training in the United States proven to increase knowledge and change behavior. Together, we have trained 8,130 Coloradans to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. This is no small feat, but it is a far cry from reaching the necessary critical milestone in child protection that we need to effectively prevent child sexual abuse in Colorado. This pivotal achievement will come when 284,149 Coloradans have taken this FREE two-hour training offered online and in-person in some communities.

Tipping the Scales in Favor of Kids in Kiowa

The people of Kiowa County, in southeastern Colorado, have shown a strong commitment to the prevention of child sexual abuse by passing the tipping point where a large enough percentage of the population has been trained to prevent, recognize and responsibly react to child sexual abuse to create real social change. The county needed to train 69 adults in order to reach the tipping point; it has already trained 110 adults and isn’t stopping there. “As the first county in Colorado to reach the tipping point, Kiowa County is proof that our communities care about our children and that adults are willing to take this first step forward to strengthen their communities,” said Sadie Rose Pace, Illuminate Colorado training specialist. “The dedicated people of Kiowa County and the local authorized facilitators who supported them in their effort deserve to be recognized and celebrated.” 

Help Colorado Reach the Tipping Point

Thanks in large part to support from the Colorado Children’s Trust Fund from the Office of Early Childhood at the Colorado Department of Human Services, all Coloradans can take Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children® training for FREE. One of several trainings aimed at preventing child sexual abuse promoted by Illuminate, Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children® training provides a strong foundation that any adult can use to grow awareness and build skills to protect the children in their community. Illuminate looks forward to more and more counties joining Kiowa County in the continuing effort to prevent child sexual abuse. For more information about the training and to learn what your community tipping point is, visit TipColorado.org

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Illuminating Policy to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse

Illuminating Policy to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse

Policy plays a key role in the prevention of child sexual abuse by ensuring adequate funding and modernization of state statutes to protect kids, as well as promoting healing and preventing future harm when abuse has occurred. In addition to educating and empowering adults, Illuminate Colorado is working to ensure that every child grows up healthy and free from sexual abuse by collaborating through the Colorado Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Coalition and advocating during the 2021 Colorado legislative session on several bipartisan bills progressing at the state capitol related to child sexual abuse prevention. 

Just last week, Illuminate joined the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault and many survivors in testifying in support of SB21-73 before the Senate Health & Human Services Committee. Thankfully, the bill passed committee, as well as third reading on the Senate floor, unanimously.

SB21-73 Civil Action Statute of Limitations for Sexual Assault eliminates the civil statute of limitations for sexual assault allows child and adult survivors time to heal so that they may access the civil legal system and monetary resources necessary to rebuild their lives after surviving sexual abuse. 

National experts estimate that approximately 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. (1)  Over the last five years, the number of children in Colorado experiencing sexual abuse has steadily risen with seven percent of the 286,534 allegations of child maltreatment involving concerns of sexual abuse. With support from professionals in the child welfare and child advocacy centers and law enforcement, as well as other trusted adults in a child’s life, 27 percent of these concerns of child sexual abuse were confirmed. (2) However, almost 73 percent of child victims don’t disclose to anyone for at least a year, 45 percent don’t tell anyone for almost five years and, sadly, many never disclose at all. (3)

The resources included with this bill were needed before the COVID-19 pandemic to support survivors of child sexual abuse thriving in adulthood given that adult survivors of child sexual abuse are nearly three times as likely to report substance misuse, and are also more likely to be impacted by mental health issues. (4) They are especially needed now given the social isolation and increased stressors associated with the COVID-19 pandemic that everyone has experienced.

Review the 2021 Policy Agenda

Download the 2021 Illuminating Policy Agenda with key highlighting specific protective factors each policy builds in Colorado.

Use the Illuminate Colorado Bill Tracker to stay up to date on the progression of SB21-73 and other bills this session related to child sexual abuse prevention including:

SB21-017 Sexual Contact By An Educator which specifically addresses the abuse of public trust by an educator, and enforces that sexual relationships between a student and a teacher or coach are inappropriate, even once a student turns eighteen years old.

HB21-1069 Enforcement Of Sexual Exploitation Of A Child modernizing criminal statute regarding child sexual exploitation to reflect access and viewing due to evolving technology, including accounting for livestreaming platforms.

Register today for the 10th annual Speak Up for Kids Day (not) at the Capitol!

Illuminate encourages everyone to participate in Colorado’s Annual Speak up for Kids Day on Thursday, March 18, 2021 from 8:00 a.m to 12:00 p.m.

It is essential for elected officials and policy makers to understand how to prevent child maltreatment and listen to parents in every community.

This year’s event will be hosted virtually, yet still filled with tips and training on advocacy and lobbying skills, strategizing and role-playing for talking to lawmakers, opportunities to hear about key issues for kids and families, and more. Children’s Hospital Colorado, Colorado Children’s Campaign and Clayton Early Learning are hosting the event.

Register at www.bit.ly/2021speakup and email advocacy@childrenscolorado.org with any questions.

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Stay up to date on policy that prevents child maltreatment and the 2021 Illuminating Policy Agenda by subscribing to Illuminate’s blog.

Citations

1) Townsend, C. & Rheingold, A.A. (2013). Estimating a child sexual abuse prevalence rate for practitioners: A review of child sexual abuse prevalence studies. Charleston, S.C., Darkness to Light. Retrieved from www.D2L.org.

2) Colorado Department of Human Services, Types of Allegations of Maltreatment Report Time Period: January 1, 2015 – December 31, 2019. (2020). Retrieved from CDHSDataMatters.org https://rom.socwel.ku.edu/CO_Public/Login.aspx?H=7061.

3) Joshua J. Broman-Fulks, Kenneth J. Ruggiero, Rochelle F. Hanson, Daniel W. Smith, Heidi S. Resnick, Dean G. Kilpatrick & Benjamin E. Saunders (2007) Sexual Assault Disclosure in Relation to Adolescent Mental Health: Results from the National Survey of Adolescents, Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 36:2, 260-266, DOI: 10.1080/15374410701279701

4) CASA Columbia, “Family Matters”, 2005 Knight, Menard, & Simmons, 2014.

Yoga and Post-Traumatic Growth

Yoga and Post-Traumatic Growth

Over the last five years, the number of children in Colorado experiencing sexual abuse has steadily risen. Seven percent of the 286,534 allegations of child maltreatment in Colorado over the last five years involved concerns of sexual abuse; 28 percent of those concerns involved male children and 72 percent female children. However, it is also believed that child sexual abuse is significantly under-reported. National experts estimate that one in 10 children will be sexually abused before the age of 18, and 90 percent of children who experience sexual abuse know their abuser.

The Consequences 

The long-term consequences of childhood sexual abuse are numerous, ranging from poor self-image to increased risk of mental health issues and suicide. Because sexual abuse is an extreme violation of an individual’s physical, emotional, cognitive, and familial integrity, it contributes to many conditions that confront adult survivors, including homelessness, addiction, obesity, chronic illness and depression.

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been reported to be five times more likely in survivors of childhood sexual abuse compared to the general population. Children who have been sexually abused exhibit more posttraumatic fear, anxiety, and concentration problems than do their non-abused peers.

Healing Through Yoga

Dr. John Hopper at Harvard Medical School reports that the key for promoting healing for childhood sexual abuse is:

  • Establishing safety and stability in one’s body, one’s relationships, and the rest of one’s life.
  • Tapping into and developing one’s own inner strengths, and any other potentially available resources for healing.
  •  Learning how to regulate one’s emotions and manage symptoms that cause suffering or make one feel unsafe.
  • Developing and strengthening skills for managing painful and unwanted experiences, and minimizing unhelpful responses to them.

Those familiar with Yoga practices and philosophy will immediately recognize that Yoga is an ideal opportunity to initiate, build, and integrate mindfulness and body-focused practices to address symptoms of childhood sexual abuse.

Trauma-Informed Yoga is a natural environment to create a safe space for healing. Yoga promotes the learning of “interoceptive awareness,” a fancy way of saying awareness of feelings and sensations in the body.  Often times, survivors have turned away from feelings and sensations as a way of survival.  Yoga can teach survivors how to “befriend” the body and to get to know the associated sensations and feelings, which helps them to make conscious changes and have more choice and control over their own lives.  Yoga also incorporates relaxation techniques, coping skills and empowering philosophy which can also aid in the development of post traumatic growth.

For more information on how yoga can be used to build brighter childhoods and the different ways that you can get involved, visit Bloom Yoga’s webpage.

 

Alongside Healing Comes Prevention

It’s not all just about healing. It’s important to also focus on the prevention of childhood sexual abuse. The Tipping Point Initiative encourages all Coloradans to take the Darkness to Light Stewards of Children® training, the only evidence-informed, adult-focused child sexual abuse prevention program in the United States proven to increase knowledge and change behavior. Adults learn how to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse and feel empowered to spread their knowledge within the community. Visit the website to learn more.

More than 500 Coloradans Sign Up to Reach a Critical Milestone in the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse in Colorado

More than 500 Coloradans Sign Up to Reach a Critical Milestone in the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse in Colorado

Since launching a new strategy to prevent child sexual abuse in Colorado just last month, more than 500 Coloradans have signed up to help our state reach a tipping point where children grow up happy, healthy and safe in communities that prevent children from experiencing sexual abuse.

The Tipping Point Initiative encourages all Coloradans to take Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children® training, the only evidence-informed, adult-focused child sexual abuse prevention program in the United States proven to increase knowledge and change behavior. Adults learn how to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse and feel empowered to spread their knowledge within the community.

The initiative incorporates a number of perspectives from the more than 80 local authorized facilitators throughout Colorado including staff from Illuminate Colorado, who have been promoting this training for several years. Together, more than 7,000 people in Colorado have been trained, which is no small feat, but it is a far cry from reaching the necessary critical milestone in child protection that is needed to effectively prevent child sexual abuse in Colorado.

Four authorized facilitators sat down to share their perspectives on why Coloradans in all communities, including their own, should get involved:

Hollie Reinhart, a Forensic Interviewer with Denver Children’s Advocacy Center, says “down the line, my job is to have less kids to interview.” She adds that this evidence-based training is for everyone. “It’s not just for professionals, but it’s also for parents. It’s also for people in the community.”

“What excites me in a small community—In small counties—is that number is very doable, that we can reach that tipping point,” says Lisa Thomas, the Collaborative Management Program Coordinator at Kiowa County Public Health. “Any agency that hasn’t had the training, any group that wants to bring this training to them—we can make that happen for you. We can help your community to reach that tipping point. And we can make a change to the lives of our children.”

Marty Sos, a dad, grandparent and CASA volunteer, is an avid supporter of the training, saying “there are things that people need to learn to prevent child sexual abuse and if I can go out and get more people interested in that, I can make a difference.” The training has also had an impact on his family. “The first thing I did (after the training) was I went to talk to my kids about this—my daughter who has a child, my two boys who have children—and I said you know what, these are things you need to be aware of.”

Claudia Gilbert, a Bilingual Prevention Education Associate at Blue Sky Bridge and mother of two children, thinks this training is essential for all parents and community members, and wishes she would have had the training sooner. “I would have loved to have done the workshop when my kids were younger…because a lot of the suggestions in the workshop about how to protect your children and prevent them from becoming victims of abuse is to start working with them when they’re young…”

The training is available both online and in-person, depending on local public health guidance. It is available in English and Spanish and approved nationally for two hours of continuing education for many professionals including nurses, social workers, dentists and dental hygienists.

Help us create a new standard of child safety in your community and throughout Colorado.

Visit TipColorado.org to learn more.

 

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Over the last five years, the number of children in Colorado experiencing sexual abuse has steadily risen. Seven percent of the 286,534 allegations of child maltreatment in Colorado over the last five years involved concerns of sexual abuse; 28 percent of those...

More than 500 Coloradans Sign Up to Reach a Critical Milestone in the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse in Colorado

Initiative to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse Aims to Reach a Tipping Point in Colorado

llluminate Colorado (Illuminate) aims to train more than 200,000 Coloradans in order to reach a tipping point in the state where children grow up happy, healthy and safe in communities that prevent children from experiencing sexual abuse. The statewide nonprofit dedicated to strengthening families, organizations and communities to prevent child maltreatment received an extraordinary response to a new initiative launched last week focused on preventing child sexual abuse.

“When a community reaches a tipping point, the cultural starts to change and that is what needs to happen to eliminate child sexual abuse in Colorado. This initiative is built around the idea that if enough adults get educated, then together, a new standard of child safety will be created in the community and ultimately throughout Colorado.” said Anne Auld director of education for Illuminate Colorado.

The Tipping Point Initiative encourages all Coloradans to take the Darkness to Light Stewards of Children® training, the only evidence-informed, adult-focused child sexual abuse prevention program in the United States proven to increase knowledge and change behavior. Adults learn how to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse and feel empowered to spread their knowledge within the community.

Over the last five years, the number of children in Colorado experiencing sexual abuse has steadily risen. Seven percent of the 286,534 allegations of child maltreatment in Colorado over the last five years involved concerns of sexual abuse; 28 percent of those concerns involved male children and 72 percent female children. However, it is also believed that child sexual abuse is significantly under-reported. National experts estimate that one in 10 children will be sexually abused before the age of 18 and 90 percent of children who experience sexual abuse know their abuser.

Thanks in large part to support from the Colorado Children’s Trust Fund in the Office of Early Childhood at the Colorado Department of Human Services, this interactive prevention training is available anywhere in Colorado FREE of charge. The 2-hour training includes simple, effective prevention strategies for adults to use to protect children from sexual abuse including how to reduce one on one situations when sexual abuse can occur and the importance of using anatomically correct terms for genital with children to prevent child sexual abuse. The training also includes education on topics like recognizing signs of abuse, as well as practical guidance on how to respond in the moment when a child discloses abuse to you.

Illuminate, along with more than 80 local authorized facilitators throughout Colorado, have been promoting this training for several years with more than 7,000 people in Colorado trained today. This is no small feat, but it is a far cry from reaching the necessary critical milestone in child protection that is needed to effectively prevent child sexual abuse in Colorado. Nearly 150 Coloradans signed up for the training to create safe communities over just one weekend and the nonprofit is asking for help to raise awareness to reach the goal.

“While it may take many years to reach the tipping point in Colorado, smaller communities and individual counties may get there relatively quickly if families, organizations, neighborhoods and community leaders make the prevention of child sexual abuse a priority. We are definitely encouraged by the initial response we’ve seen in this first week” said Auld. “We created TipColorado.org to monitor and share our progress toward achieving the tipping point in Colorado, as well as in each county of the state. We want to let everyone know how many people have taken the training in their community and empower local partners to prevent child abuse in every neighborhood and workplace.”

The training is available both online and in-person, depending on local public health guidance. Available in English and Spanish and approved nationally for two hours of continuing education for many professionals including nurses, social workers, dentists and dental hygienists.

Sign up online to learn more at TipColorado.org to create a new standard of child safety in your community and throughout Colorado.

Illuminate Colorado, the lead organizer of the Tipping Point Initiative in Colorado, is a 501
(c)3 nonprofit organization working to strengthen families, organizations and communities to prevent child maltreatment in Colorado. With a research-based approach that emphasizes building protective factors in families, Illuminate works to address systemic and multi-sector issues affecting the well-being of children, collaborating with partners at local, state and national levels to develop powerful programs, policies and initiatives that keep kids safe.

Certified prevention experts offer multiple educational programs and ongoing support to local organizations and facilitators to increase Colorado’s capacity to create safe spaces where children can thrive. The organization is the state intermediary & an authorized facilitator of the Darkness to Light Stewards of Children® Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Program.

Darkness to Light is a nonprofit organization founded in 2000 with the mission to empower adults to prevent child sexual abuse. Through education and awareness, the organization seeks to create a safer world for children to grow and thrive. Darkness to Light’s flagship program, “Stewards of Children®,” is an award-winning training that teaches adults to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. To date, over one million educators, youth serving professionals, organization volunteers, and community members have been trained. “Stewards of Children” is the largest training program of its kind, with the largest network of child protection advocates in the world.

Download press release

Policy Changes Protecting Children of ANY Age in School from Sexual Misconduct

Policy Changes Protecting Children of ANY Age in School from Sexual Misconduct

It is up to all of us to ensure that children and adults do not experience sexual assault. According to the U.S. Department of Education, an estimated 1 in 10 students will experience sexual misconduct by a school employee by the time they graduate from high school. An important bill, Sexual Assault On A Student By An Educator SB20-059, is moving its way through the legislative process and will ultimately ensure all children and youth have protections under the law with regard to adults in a position of trust, regardless of the age of the youth.

The bill specifically addresses the abuse of public trust by an educator, and enforces that sexual relationships between a student and a teacher or coach are inappropriate, even once a student turns eighteen years old. Such relationships have unbalanced power dynamics given a teacher or coach’s control over a student’s grades, discipline, or playing time.

Many organization, including Illuminate Colorado are collaborating through the Colorado Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Coalition to promote effective and comprehensive education, advocacy and communication to prevent child sexual abuse and protect children. We encourage anyone interested in preventing child sexual abuse in Colorado to get involved.

As an important reminder, if you suspect the sexual abuse of a minor, please make a report by calling 1-844-CO-4-KIDS.

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