By Roger Duffield, President
For years in2vate has provided training content and prevention services for the “no one-wants-to-talk-about” child sexual abuse topic. My first exposure to abuse prevention was in the mid to late 90s when the risk control department I was managing decided to address this topic. We hired experts who spent two weeks training our field staff. We began working with and training our clients around hiring and completing self-audits.
Nothing could prepare us when the year 2000 arrived and we began to understand just how widespread child sexual abuse really was. I was fortunate enough to work with other consultants in putting together organizational standards for youth-serving industries as well as training leaders on those standards.
Through the initial training we received in the 90s and subsequent work with other subject matter experts in the early 2000s, I was shocked at the amount of abuse. One in four girls and one in eight boys are estimated to be sexually abused before the age of 18. The numbers are staggering. But what is even more difficult to comprehend is that there are people who are focused on gaining access to children for the purpose of abusing them—some adults are “grooming” the children. They even have communities that share their strategies.
This was a major focus of my job for about five years. I remember having dinner one evening after we were training leaders of youth-serving organizations and saying, “I think I am going to make a difference in this area, on a worldwide stage.” Over time I forgot about that comment, but when I started considering becoming the president of in2vate, it was one of the areas that attracted me to the role.
In2vate has now named their proprietary program, “Smarter Adults Safer Children.”
No matter how difficult a topic this is, we must do our best to protect our children from this horrific yet common experience. Over the next couple of articles, I will begin to share what we are doing to protect children at in2vate.