BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. – The Annual West Virginia Sexual Violence Prevention Summit took place at the Bridgeport Conference Center on Tuesday thanks to a partnership with the Prevent Child Sexual Abuse Partnership.
The Summit brought together 100 individuals, including sexual assault and domestic violence victim advocates, teachers, counselors and child advocacy centers, who are learning strategies for working together to reach and help more individuals in the communities.
Today’s events focused on grades K-12, learning about what is available for prevention programming in the classrooms, after school programs, day cares and anywhere children and youth are.
The Erin Marryn Law requires all school personnel and teachers to learn about preventing child sexual abuse and educating youth on body safety.
“The message is prevention is possible and we can prevent child sexual abuse from happening in West Virginia,” said Nikki Godfrey, Assistant State Coordinator with WV Foundation for Rape Information and Services, “all of us have a responsibility to children and to other folks in our society to prevent sexual violence from happening.”
According to the West Virginia Child Advocacy Network, one in ten children will be the victim of sexual abuse by their 18th birthday.
“In the last year we served more than 4,700 new children due to allegations of serious physical abuse or sexual abuse,” said Kate Flack, WV Child Advocacy Network.
Flack talked about how the WV Child Advocacy Network has 21 child advocacy centers that serve 45 counties in West Virginia.
“We know with the right community response kids who have been sexually abused can go on to lead healthy lives,” said Kate Flack, “we wanna make sure as many children don’t have to experience that as possible, but we also want kids to know there is healing and there is hope that they have been abused there is a community waiting to support them.”
The WV Sexual Violence Prevention Summit continues on Wednesday with events targeted for all ages, it starts from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Bridgeport Conference Center.
If you suspect a kid is being abused, you can call the WV Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-352-6513, or if you are at a high risk of danger, you should always call 911.
To find out more information on the West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services, you can go to the website by clicking here.