Conference Offers Strategies for Protecting the Child From Sexual Abuse and Rooting Out the Predator
Organizations that serve youth must overlap their defenses against sexual predators, say experts at a youth protection conference organized by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). “The first problem we have in the country is that most people most of the time won’t report abuse, no matter how clear the evidence is … even when they walk in on a child being sexually abused,” declared Victor Vieth, executive director of the National Child Protection Training Center at Minnesota’s Winona State University. “It’s not a close question,” he said, referring to decades of research. “People tell researchers, ‘I don’t report because I’m not quite sure.’”
In 2012 alone, personnel in the Roman Catholic Church, the BSA and Penn State University, to name a few big organizations, have all been accused or convicted of complicity in ignoring child sexual abuse, in some cases, for decades. That’s part of what’s fueled new public attention to child sex abuse in places where kids go to worship, learn and play. As a response, the BSA organized the two-day Atlanta conference, where some 40 leaders of youth-serving organizations, other non-profits, and advocates gathered to hear from leading child abuse prevention researchers.