359 Ballston Avenue, Saratoga Springs, NY   
Phone: 518-587-8008 - Fax: 518-587-8241

Saratoga Center for the Family News and Updates

4th Annual Saratoga County Safe Harbour Conference

Posted in Child Advocacy Center, General by SaratogaCFF on Tuesday, September 25, 2018 at 2:16 pm

Friday, October 26, 2018

9:00 AM – 3:30 PM 

LOCATION :  Arthur Zankel Music Center, Skidmore College, 815 North Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

A conference to educate, inform, raise awareness, and take steps to prevent and stop trafficking and CSEY, and also familiarize attendees with victim resources and services available in Saratoga County. In past years this has been a very popular event and as a result we expect tickets to go quickly. Please only register if you intend to participate in this event.


Jasmine Grace is an effective keynote speaker, panel participant and facilitator for trainings, workshops and groups. She has spoken on panels at the U.S Commission on Civil Rights in New Hampshire and at two side panels for members of the United Nations in New York. She often speaks at schools, churches and conferences. In addition, Jasmine consults with healthcare professionals, law enforcement personnel, educators and nonprofit organizations. She advises on issues such as safe homes, program growth, curriculum development, survivor support and peer mentorship. Lastly, she is a member of the NSN (National Survivor Network).

Silent survivors, justice seekers and direct service providers are talking about Jasmine’s story of survival, faith and victory. People who were previously uneducated about human trafficking have chosen to support her efforts as a modern-day abolitionist because sex should never be called work.

Register here:  https://bit.ly/2ORagcj



6 Lessons We Can Learn from the Nassar Scandal

Posted in General by SaratogaCFF on Thursday, January 25, 2018 at 3:37 pm

Photo: Associated Press

Larry Nassar, former team doctor for Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, was convicted of multiple counts of first degree sexual misconduct and sentenced to up to 175 years in prison. Over the course of two decades, Nassar abused over 160 young women under the guise of medical treatment, including gold medalists McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, and Simone Biles. 156 of his victims gave impact statements prior to his sentencing.

Chief Prosecutor and Michigan State Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis said of the women, “They should feel no shame, because they did nothing wrong. He did. These little girls have transformed before our eyes from victims, to survivors, to champions for justice and advocates for change.”

So what can we – as parents, community members, service providers, mandatory reporters, and fellow humans – learn from this? What can we take away from this to ensure that the children in our communities are protected?

  1. When children report abuse, believe them.

In Nassar’s case, many of his victims had reported his behavior over the years, and the adults they trusted to protect them failed to put a stop to it. According to the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, it is estimated that only 4-8% of reports of abuse are fabricated, with the majority of those attributed to adults during custody disputes. When children confide in us, it is our duty to take action.

  1. Talk to your children.

It is never too early to talk to your children about their bodies and boundaries. High profile cases such as these can help open the door for discussion. Click here for more tips about how to start the conversation.

  1. You probably won’t be able to spot a child abuser.

On TV, perpetrators might be portrayed as “creeps.” In real life, they could be anyone – a trusted family member or friend, a football coach, a piano teacher, a doctor. A staggering 90% of children who are sexually abused know the perpetrator in some way. Child abuse does not happen simply because parents are not paying attention – it also happens because abusers earn their trust.


  1. Abusers are experts at grooming.

Grooming is the word used to describe the process that abusers typically follow before abusing a child. It involves identifying a target, earning their (and often their parent’s) trust, and isolating the child both physically and emotionally. Read more about the 6 stages of grooming.

  1. There is help.

If you suspect abuse or maltreatment of a child, report it now. Once a child’s safety has been secured, they can begin processing the trauma that they have experienced. Mental health therapy with a licensed, trained clinician has been shown to ease acceptance of what happened, reduce problematic symptoms, and encourage positive behaviors going forward. At Saratoga Center for the Family, our therapists are trained in evidence-based methods such as Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TFCBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Progressive Counting – all aimed to help clients process trauma and move forward in a positive, healthy way.

  1. There is hope.

Children who have been abused are not alone. According to the CDC, there were 683,000 victims of child abuse and neglect reported to Child Protective Services (CPS) in 2015. They are not destined to “repeat the cycle.” They are not broken. The Nassar case proves it – his victims went through horrific trauma, and still went on to win gold at the Olympics. Children are resilient. With the proper treatment and support, they can move forward from the trauma and go on to live happy, successful lives.

Transgender Day of Remembrance and Resilience

Posted in General by SaratogaCFF on Monday, November 20, 2017 at 11:20 am

Transgender Day of Remembrance and Resilience

By Paula L. Zimmerman, LMHC


Monday, November 20, 2017 is this year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance and Resilience. This day honors those whose lives were lost to violence against people who are transgender, and to respect and be supportive of the resilience that people who are transgender demonstrate. It is observed annually on November 20th, and it started in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith to honor the memory of Rita Hester. Ms. Hester was a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. The “Resilience” part of that title has recently been added to honor the ongoing strength that transgender people have.


According to “The Report of the APA Task Force on Gender Identity and Gender Variance”, published by the American Psychological Association, “Transgender is an umbrella term used to describe people whose gender identity (sense of themselves as male or female) or gender expression differs from that usually associated with their birth sex.” In my opinion, there has been progress in the general population’s understanding of what “transgender” means and progress in the love and support offered to those who are transgender. At the same time, there is a long way to go.


All I have to do is look on the feeds of the two social media accounts I have to see that there are still many people who do not understand nor appreciate people who are transgender. Now I certainly do not have all of the answers, and I can’t speak for others, but I am happy to have conversations with people who want to increase their knowledge and want to increase my knowledge. The keys to this is remembering to remain respectful, and to enter the conversation with an open mind and desire to help us all be kinder to each other. Meanwhile, these social media feeds also show that many people are loving and caring about transgender people.


I honor and respect transgender people who have worked so hard to raise awareness, who have stood up for what is right, and who have risked themselves to make this a better society. I support transgender people in their life journey. I support transgender people. I honor those who have lost their lives to violence against transgender people.


If you would like to have a conversation with me about this or anything else, my generally used pronouns are “she” and “her”. I would be fine with the pronouns “they”, “their”, “he”, and “his”.


I owe credit to the following sources for some of the information I have noted above:

  • American Psychological Association, “The Report of the APA Task Force on Gender Identity and Gender Variance”, (2009) p. 95
  • The Pride Center of the Capital Region website: www.capitalpridecenter.org
  • GLAAD website: www.glaad.org
  • Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Saratoga Springs website: www.uusaratoga.org


Posted in General by SaratogaCFF on Friday, August 11, 2017 at 2:29 pm

payton1 payton2

If you’ve visited our offices recently, you may have noticed some new signs on our front door and reception area.

Introducing the newest (and furriest) member of our SCFF staff, Payton!


Payton is a very sweet black Labrador retriever that has been professionally trained and has received certification through Therapy Dogs International. We are very excited to have her on the team!

Therapy animals can help with many things, including:

– clients who are struggling to “open up”
– reducing stress and anxiety in a session
– to assist in teaching social skills

Not a “dog person?” Not to worry. Payton will be kept in dedicated spaces to minimize unwanted interactions and for clients with allergies.

Clients who are interested in learning more can ask their therapists for more details and scheduling. Welcome to Saratoga Center for the Family, Payton!


Saratoga Center for the Family Lends Awareness to Child Abuse Prevention Month

Posted in General by SaratogaCFF on Thursday, April 6, 2017 at 10:00 am

Since 1983, the month of April has been designated as Child Abuse Prevention Month across the nation. Locally, Prevent Child Abuse flags will line Broadway in downtown Saratoga Springs as a way of showing support and increasing local awareness. However, the agency highlighted on those flags, Saratoga Center for the Family, is committed to protecting children, preventing abuse, and strengthening families all year long.

The Center offers a wide variety of services including mental health counseling, victims’ services and advocacy, and educational and preventative programming. One upcoming program is Heel to Heal, which is a group for teenage girls that utilizes group counseling and walk/run based therapy to increase self-esteem and empowerment. The program begins its 6th season on April 19th and spans 10 weeks, concluding with the group completing a 5K goal race. “100% of our participants last year reported a decrease in depression and an increase in self-esteem,” shared Kelly Daugherty, Clinical Director and creator of the program. “The friendships, mentorship from our volunteers, and simply the act of achieving something they didn’t think they could – all have an incredible impact.”

Saratoga Center for the Family will also hold its annual event, “Celebrating the Power of Hope,” where it recognizes its donors, sponsors, and community partners for their continued support. This year’s dinner will be held on Thursday, April 27th, at Longfellow’s Restaurant (500 Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs) from 6-9pm, and will feature an appearance from WNYT Meteorologist Jason Gough, who is a survivor of abuse. Rebecca Baldwin, Executive Director of the Center, praised Mr. Gough’s willingness to discuss such a difficult subject. “When someone like Jason makes the brave decision to come forward and share their story, it directly combats the stigmas associated with child abuse and its survivors. He paves the way for those hiding in the shadows to come forward and seek help, and eventually to heal. We are so pleased to have him as a part of our celebration of hope.”

Trust it, Feel it

Posted in General by SaratogaCFF on Monday, February 13, 2017 at 11:45 am

Trust it, Feel it
By: Jennifer Wormley

Have you ever had an ah-ha moment before?  It’s a pretty cool thing when it happens.  Today, sort of out of the blue, something occurred to me.  I secretly have a wish, but I’m going to share it with all of you.  I wish that all of our clients knew how invested all of our staff are in their well-being.  Actually, I’m going to even kick it up a notch.  I wish that all of our clients could FEEL how invested all of our staff are in their well-being.

Have you ever made a doctor appointment before and thought about the person who is making your appointment for you? Do you think that it’s important to them that they fit you in somehow because they actually feel bad that you’re not feeling well and they will go above and beyond to try and get you in to see the doctor today?  And how about when you have to speak with the billing person because of an error that you’ve found on your bill.  Do you think that they feel bad that someone made a mistake and now you’re stressing out because you think that you owe the doctor more money than you actually do?  Then there’s the person who sits at a desk and you always see them when you go in for your appointment, but you don’t really know what their job is.  I’m sure you think that they have no awareness that you’re even in the building, but they do.  There are a lot of staff working “behind the scenes” to improve our services and ensure your experience here is a positive one.

All the staff here care.  They care about you and your well-being.  I see it every day in their actions, I hear it in their voices, and I actually get to FEEL it because I’m one of them.  Moral of the story, have faith that when you walk through our doors, know that everyone here is working for you and my ultimate hope is that you will not only know that, but that you will get to FEEL it too. It’s very rewarding to work with such caring and genuine people.

Center Names Baldwin Executive Director, Adds Board Members

Posted in General by SaratogaCFF on Wednesday, January 25, 2017 at 3:32 pm

Rebecca Baldwin of Schuylerville has been named Executive Director of Saratoga Center for the Family.

“Rebecca brings over 10 years of experience working in the social service field with expertise in program administration, planning, development and oversight,” said James Lombardo, president of the Center for the Family board of directors. “Her experience, passion and enthusiasm will be key to her success as she leads the organization into the future.”

Baldwin previously was Director of Foster Care at Berkshire Farm Center and Services for Youth. She earned a Master of Social Work from the University at Albany and Bachelors in Social Work from the College of Saint Rose.

In addition, the Board of Directors elected its 2017 slate of officers: James Lombardo, President; Dave Shacket, Vice President; Douglas Gerhardt, Treasurer; and Gregory Moore, Secretary.

The Center also welcomed to its Board of Directors new Board Members John Brooks, Tim Hoefer, Katherine Smith, and Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner.

Saratoga Center for the Family is a non-profit organization that provides abuse prevention programs, mental health services, victim advocacy and a variety of services for children and families in Saratoga County, regardless of ability to pay.

Baldwin succeeded Deborah Tomaso, who retired. “I am committed to the mission of the Center and excited about this opportunity to serve as Executive Director,” Baldwin said.

Three tips that will change your life for the better in 2017

Posted in General by SaratogaCFF on Thursday, January 5, 2017 at 1:47 pm

Three Tips that will change your life for the better this 2017

By: Kevin Daugherty, CHHC, AADP

Kevin Daugherty is a Certified Holistic Health Coach with Greater Life Health and is a guest blogger for us and is sharing his thoughts on New Year’s Resolutions.

I’m not big on New Year’s Resolutions. I think change comes when changed is needed, not by a turn on the page of a calendar. Nonetheless it’s a new year so let’s look at what we can do to make it the best year ever. There are a lot of little things that can change the whole game of life. Little things that when done compound into the big things which equate to the best life ever. These three tips I’m going to share with you can be implemented in no particular order and be worked on individually or in conjunction with each other.

Tip #1: You Are What You Eat

Sounds like advice from your Grandmother, right? If she did say that, she wasn’t wrong. The fact is that you are comprised of everything you put into your body. Everything you eat and drink as well as the products you put on your body. Every sickness, syndrome and disease we have comes from one of two things: Toxicity or Deficiency and those two things happen because of what we do or do not put into our body. Simply put, Garbage In, Garbage Out. Think about it like you would think of a sports car. You put in high quality fuel, premium oil and top notch lubricant and the cars components will run smooth and that car will fly down the road with no problems at all. If you use poor quality gas, oil and lube then the gears will grind and the added friction would cause heat and stress. The engine would not even come close to running well and the car would never reach its full potential. Your body is the same way! It needs the right fuel and lubricant. It needs high quality stuff to work right, heal properly and fight off problems. Everything you put in or on your body is either going to build you up or tear you down. Every ache, pain, extra pound, syndrome or other ailment is a symptom of what you have or haven’t done including what you have or have not put in or on your body. Taking responsibility and taking charge of this will greatly enhance the quality of your life and can prolong it as well. Let’s face it folks, a long life isn’t worth squat unless it’s a good quality one.

Eating good and getting the right nutrients not only helps build your body become a high functioning machine, but it also helps your mind. Since your body and soul are one, what you put in your body feeds the brain. With that being said, this is the perfect time for me to segway into the next tip.

Tip 2: You Are What You Think

So, what you put in and on your body effects all its functions and what you put in your mind builds you up or tears you down. We spend most of the time in our mind thinking repetitive thoughts which most often are self-defeating. We spend a lot of time up there judging others or ourselves, holding on to the past or worrying about the future and living in some sort of fear. We miss out on all the beauty and splendor of life and can’t see all we have because we are stuck in our heads. We think that most of what we think is helping us get through our day, but it’s holding us back from a better-quality life. Visualize how much better things would be if you could cut your stress in half, your anxiety in half, if all the things you have held onto for all these years just went away. We walk through life with these lead weights tied to us. We choose to hold these weights, nobody is forcing us to. We choose to hold them and the only thing that keeps us holding them is the belief that we can’t let go or don’t know how to live life without them. So many of us rely on medication to deal with stress and anxiety and our past. I will tell you a little secret about those three things. Stress isn’t what happens but rather how you react to the stress. Anxiety is worry about the future; a future that does not yet exist. The third, the past, well simply put does not exist anymore. It’s gone, “POOF”, vanished! Now I understand that it sounds a little simplified but you will be surprised that life really isn’t as complicated as we all believe. The belief that it’s complicated or arduous is what makes it true. The opposite of what you believe is also true. You begin understanding that it’s easy and smooth and that is what you find to be true. It starts by what and how you think. The beginning of successful thinking is taking 100% responsibility for your life and your thoughts. You are where you are in life because of what you have or have not done and because of what you have or have not thought. Your feelings and reactions to people, places or things is 100% your doing. You may not have control over the world or other people, but you have 100% control over how you react, how you think and how you feel.

Like the food, you put in your body, high quality thoughts will turn your life into a high-quality life. One of the best tools to start turning your thinking around is meditation.

Tip #3: Meditation

Meditation is something that will change every facet of your life and it’s simple and doesn’t cost you anything. We tend to be slaves to our minds and meditation is the key that unlocks the chains that bind us. Simply sitting upright in a comfortable position, clearing our thoughts and focusing on our breathing is the first step. Present moment nonjudgmental awareness is the next step. Allowing what flows by to flow by without judgement. Meditation isn’t the thing that only Sages and Mystics do in a cave somewhere. It’s what someone who wants to be free of their own BS does. When someone has the insight to say “I deserve better!” and is willing to do what it takes to get there. Many try to cope with their stress, anxiety and problems with drugs and alcohol and my rebuttal is: Meditate NOT Medicate! When you partake in drugs or alcohol you are looking to drown out something or create a certain state, but all you are doing is putting a band-aid on and never fixing the problem or if you are looking to achieve a state, that state is fleeting and ever receding. Meditation allows you to go beyond your problems and find real solutions or real states. The mental and physical achievements that can be gained through meditation are limitless.

All you have to do is start with five minutes a day. I know you can find 5 minutes. Think about how much time you spend on social media or bashing your boss or worrying about your problems. Take some of that time and sit down and meditate.

You are your biggest obstacle to your health, wealth and happiness and YOU are also your biggest solution. Take 100% responsibility for your life. Your thoughts and actions are on you and they affect you and those around you. We all want this world to be a better place so do your part. Focus on YOU!

These three steps are building blocks to a better life and a better world. They start small and become larger. It’s not about removing what’s “bad” and not working in your life, it’s about adding “good” and what does work. You add enough good stuff and there is no room for the bad stuff. It’s time to do your part, Make YOURSELF GREAT again and lead by example.

These tips are a gift from me to you. They are priceless so we can’t put a price tag on them. They may seem a little simple, but put them into action and watch your world spin on a dime.

  • You are what you eat
  • You are what you think
  • Meditate not Medicate

If you need guidance or a little boost, ask a friend or family member to be your accountability buddy and help keep you on track!! Happy New Year!


Posted in General by SaratogaCFF on Tuesday, September 13, 2016 at 12:50 pm

Do Children Sexually Abuse Other Children?

By: Kelly Daugherty, LCSW-R, GC-C

With school being back in session, children are making new friends in their classrooms. This may mean new play dates, sleep overs, etc and meeting new parents. With that being said I think it is a good time for parents to review body safety rules with your children. So much of child sex abuse prevention is targeted at teaching kids what to do if an adult touches them in a way that is uncomfortable, but prevention also has to include what to do if a peer tries to do something to them. The reality is that over a third of all child sexual abuse is committed by someone under the age of 18. In 2015 our Child Advocacy Center which is for only Saratoga County had 31 interviews with children who were sexually abused by their peers. And this number doesn’t include all of the children that have been sexually abused by peers that have not told anyone. Studies show that in as many as nine out of 10 cases, kids don’t tell anyone when they are being sexually abused. This blog will explain what is normal sexual curiosity in children, when a parent should be concerned, why children sexually abuse other children and how to prevent child sexual abuse.

It is not always easy to tell the difference between normal curiosity in children and potentially abusive behaviors. Children have different understanding about their bodies and sexuality and this could be impacted because of their developmental age, whether the child has a disability or developmental challenge or because they have older siblings.

Most children will engage in forms of sexual exploration with children of similar size, social status or power. According to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network: Most sexual play is an expression of children’s natural curiosity and should not be a cause for concern or alarm. In general, “typical” childhood sexual play and exploration:

  • Occurs between children who play together regularly and know each other well
  • Occurs between children of the same general age and physical size
  • Is spontaneous and unplanned
  • Is infrequent
  • Is voluntary (the children agreed to the behavior, none of the involved children seem uncomfortable or upset)
  • Is easily diverted when parents tell children to stop and explain privacy rules

Common Sexual Behaviors in Children from the Sexual Development and Behavior in Children from The National Child Traumatic Stress Network.

Age Uncommon/Problematic Behaviors
Preschool children (less than 4 years) ·       Exploring and touching private parts, in public and in private

·       Rubbing private parts (with hand or against objects) Showing private parts to others

·       Trying to touch mother’s or other women’s breasts

·       Removing clothes and wanting to be naked

·       Attempting to see other people when they are naked or undressing (such as in the bathroom)

·       Asking questions about their own—and others’—bodies and bodily functions

·       Talking to children their own age about bodily functions such as “poop” and “pee”

Young Children (approximately 4-6 years) ·       Purposefully touching private parts (masturbation), occasionally in the presence of others

·       Attempting to see other people when they are naked or undressing

·       Mimicking dating behavior (such as kissing, or holding hands)

·       Talking about private parts and using “naughty” words, even when they don’t understand the meaning

·       Exploring private parts with children their own age (such as “playing doctor”, “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours,” etc.)

School-Aged Children (approximately 7-12 years) ·       Purposefully touching private parts (masturbation), usually in private

·       Playing games with children their own age that involve sexual behavior (such as “truth or dare”, “playing family,” or “boyfriend/girlfriend”)

·       Attempting to see other people naked or undressing

·       Looking at pictures of naked or partially naked people

·       Viewing/listening to sexual content in media (television, movies, games, the Internet, music, etc.)

·       Wanting more privacy (for example, not wanting to undress in front of other people) and being reluctant to talk to adults about sexual issues

·       Beginnings of sexual attraction to/interest in peers


So when should a parent be concerned?

These may be concerns if you see your child doing any of the following according to the NCTSN:

  • Is clearly beyond the child’s developmental stage (for example, a three-year-old attempting to kiss an adult’s genitals)
  • Involves threats, force, or aggression
  • Involves children of widely different ages or abilities (such as a 12-year-old “playing doctor” with a four-year-old)
  • Provokes strong emotional reactions in the child—such as anger or anxiety
  • The inability to control inappropriate sexual behaviors involving other children after being told to stop.
  • Taking younger children to “secret” places or hideaways to play “special” undressing or touching games

Why does a child sexually abuse other children?

The reasons can be varied and are not always obvious. Some children have been sexually abused by an adult or peer, others have witnessed violence in their home and others may have been exposed to sexually explicit material via video games, movies or internet materials including pornography that may be confusing to them. Some children act out on an impulse not understanding the harm it may do. The fact is that children that abuse as peers and don’t get help are more likely to abuse children as adults.

So what should you teach your children to prevent possible sexual abuse?

  • Communication is key! Talking with your child about healthy sexual activity may feel uncomfortable, but it is important to have conversations about sexuality and from early on in your child’s life. Don’t allow your child to be educated about sex from their peers, tv or other media sources. When you talk with your child honestly about sexual issues they are given the knowledge and skills they need to stay safe and to make good decisions. Also educate them about what is abusive sexual behavior.
  • Encourage children to respect themselves and others.
  • Educate them about secrets and which secrets should never be kept.
  • Teach your child that they have the right to say no and that they need to accept no from others.
  • Provide close supervision of your children especially when they have friends over
  • Provide clear, positive messages about modesty, boundaries and privacy.
  • Educate your children on the accurate names of boys and girls private parts
  • Educate them about body safety rules:
    • We keep private parts covered
    • We do not show other children our private body parts
    • We don’t touch other children’s private parts
    • That boys and girls bodies change as they get older
    • It may feel good to touch our own private body parts, but it should be done in private
  • Talk to your child about what to do if someone tries to touch them inappropriately or shows them pornographic images. Teach them to say No, Get Away and Tell Someone.
  • Identify safe, trusted adults they can tell if someone touches them or asks them to do something inappropriate.
  • Control media exposure. Limit which apps they have on their electronic devices. Make use of parental controls on their devices. Ask someone you may know if you don’t know how to set up these parental controls. Let them know your expectations about using social media, cell phones and electronic devices and teach them to make safe choices.
  • Talk with teens about the dangers and consequences of sexting and sending and/or receiving naked pictures of peers. For more information go to http://www.netsmartz.org/Parents
  • Have a code word with your child that they can call you and say which lets you know they want to come home.
  • Make sure your child knows your phone number.

If a child confides in you about sexual abuse:

  1. Believe them
  2. Be calm and supportive
  3. Limit questions to: Who, What, When, Where
  4. Call the child abuse hotline in NY at 1-800-342-3720 or contact your local law enforcement department

For More Information:





Posted in General by SaratogaCFF on Monday, April 25, 2016 at 2:01 pm


If you had to guess, how many times a day do you think you speak to family, friends, co-workers, strangers?  And what do you talk about?  Chances are it is casual conversations, jokes, plans for the day, gossip, and probably some meaningful important topics too.  Now, if you had to guess, how many times in your lifetime do you think you’ve spoken to anyone about child sexual abuse?  I would be willing to bet that number is very low or even zero for most of you.  Why is that?  The reasons probably vary: it’s an uncomfortable conversation, you may not feel you know enough about it, you don’t know how to begin the conversation, or you may think it’s never going to affect anyone that you know so you just avoid the conversation all together.

Unfortunately, if you think that it will never affect anyone that you know; chances are you’re probably already wrong.  The truth is that 1:10 children will be victims of sexual abuse prior to their 18th birthday. In a classroom of average size that’s about 2 children per room.  Predators of sex abuse do not discriminate; anyone’s child is at risk.  Now, wouldn’t you rather be the one to speak to your child about sex abuse before something happens to them?

TALK = PREVENTION   If we don’t talk about it, we don’t stand a chance at preventing it.  If your child is armed with knowledge about what to do if someone tries to be inappropriate with them, and if they know what to do/who to speak to if something has already happened to them – they will be in a much better position than a child that does not have that information.

Children who have been abused often feel shame and are afraid to tell anyone.  Children need to always feel reassured that anything that has happened to them is not their fault and that they won’t get in trouble.  Perpetrators use threats as leverage.  Let your children know in advance that you will always believe them and that you are on their side.

Perpetrators don’t look like the boogie man and statistically they are NOT strangers, they are someone that your child and quite possibly you too already know, love and have a trusting relationship with.  Please visit our website www.saratogacff.org for more information on signs and symptoms of abuse and helpful information if you suspect that abuse has occurred.  TALK = PREVENTION, it can be that simple.