Local groups work to overcome taboo of sexual abuse

Published 01/28 2014 05:50PM

Updated 01/29 2014 08:52AM

CHAMPAIGN -- A Unit 4 hall monitor turned himself into police after they say he inappropriately touched a 13-year old student. An arrest warrant was issued for 27-year old Herbert Howard Friday. Now, people are working to prevent something similar from happening again. WCIA-3's Megan Brilley finds out why sexual abuse isn't something many people talk about.

It's a taboo subject, but four groups in Champaign County are starting a new program to get the conversation going.

"Being silent is something we want to make sure we're not doing."

Stephanie Record sees the effects of silence all too often. She's been the executive director at Crisis Nursery for six years. She's seen firsthand how damaging sexual abuse can be.

"If you're looking the other way and not paying attention, it's so easy for these kids to be victimized."

One in ten children is sexually abused before the age or 18. It's a statistic Record wants to change with a new program called Darkness to Light. Crisis Nursery was given $45,000 to get the child sexual abuse prevention training off the ground.

"Teaching parents safe ways to interact with their children; teaching them safe ways to care for their children and not leaving them with people they're not familiar with."

Record wants to train employees to go out into the community, not only to homes, but to classrooms, to educate people of risks they might not know exist.

But, she's not the only one. Thousands of dollars were given to Crisis Nursery, CASA and Races. Funding is coming from the UI as part of a legal settlement borne out of the Jerry Sandusky case.

"It's a tragedy, the reason we got the money. That's not a positive. But, being able to do something positive with it is something we're proud of."

Several people at Crisis Nursery are already trained. Anyone in Champaign County can take advantage of it.

Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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