Sexual predators “groom” children by using behaviors to see how far they can push children to comply with their wants and desires, said Sheriff’s Detective Andrea Knox of the Family Crimes Unit.
“It’s building a relationship of trust but the underlying motive is deviate sexual behavior that can lead to a child being abused,” Detective Knox said.
Knox is passionate about preventing sexual abuse of children. That’s why she teaches the Darkness to Light: Stewards of Children program to instruct parents, teachers and caregivers about how to protect children.
For example, tutors should keep doors open when working with children. Adults working with children should use their voice to praise children, not their hands.
The Darkness to Light program is sponsored by the Child Advocacy Center of Rutherford and Cannon Counties. Since children cannot be responsible to sexual advances by adults, the program instructs adults to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.
Parents and any adult who supervises, works with or bears responsibility for children should attend the training, Knox said. They will learn ways to protect themselves and protect the child.
During the training, many adults want to know how to respond when children them they have a secret and don’t want to tell.
Adults should tell the child to confide the secret to get something done. State law mandates calling the Department of Children’s Service at615-217-8900 about any suspected child abuses. The call may be anonymous.
Parents, teachers and caregivers may attend this free child sexual abuse prevention training offered by the Child Advocacy Center in the Rutherford and Cannon County communities.
Training materials provide participants the knowledge of how to respond if a child discloses abuse. Becoming aware of this issue in Rutherford and Cannon Counties is the first step towards creating a better community.