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A Community Standing Up for Children

June 2, 2018 GMT

On three different days during May, the Pocatello Fire Department spent two hours learning the 5 simple research-based steps to protecting children from sexual abuse and empowering our community to protect children. The training was developed by an international child abuse prevention organization called Darkness to Light.

Research states that 1 out of 4 girls and 1 out of 6 boys are expected to be sexually abused by the time they turn 18. In the communities of Pocatello and Chubbuck, it is expected that 2,470 children will be sexualy abused, 90% of the time this abuse is inflicted by a family member or some a family knows or trusts. This has a huge impact on our society. Effects of abuse range from mental and physical health problems to substance abuse, suicide, violence, poverty and more.

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Great accomplishments have been made in protecting the children and families of Eastern Idaho. Almost 3,000 individuals within Eastern Idaho’s urban and rural communities have gone through the 2 hour prevention training. The training helps individuals understand the issue of child abuse and asks them to think about how they could use the new knowledge and tools everyday.

Firefighters, emergency medical service providers, law enforcement and other groups that respond to emergencies may often be dealing with situations where abuse is occurring or be interacting with a situation that is an effect stemming from abuse. Our local fire department took action when they training all of their platoons, around 60 people.

Mark Araki, the Pocatello Fire Department Division Chief of Training, commented that “The Pocatello Fire Department/Bannock County Ambulance will respond to nearly 8000 calls for service this year, in which we have a great deal of contact in the community with its members. Abuse is generally something that we watch out for and this training gave use tools that we can use to protect children and our whole community. ”

It is important to understand how sexual abuse is the most prevalent health problem children face with serious consequences that impact us all. Every community should be involved with protecting children. You can contact Bannock Youth Foundation, where the Stewards of Children program is housed, for more information about getting involved.

Now I ask the rest of our community, will you get involved in learning the steps of protecting children from sexual and other types of abuse?

This story may raise concerns, questions, or desires to help with efforts for prevention/response. If you suspect abuse, please contact law enforcement or Child Protection Services at 1-855-552-KIDS (5437). For information about child sexual abuse counseling, call Bright Tomorrows (208)234-2646. To assist in prevention efforts or tell your story, call the Stewards of Children Initiative at (208)220-4048.