Delaware State University and several other of the state’s institutions of higher education have announced its commitment to help facilitate training that will help people identify children who have been the victim of sexual abuse.
DSU President Harry L. Williams joined University of Delaware President Patrick T. Harker, Delaware Technical & Community College President Orlando J. George, Jr., along with Dr. Jim Wilson, Wilmington University vice president of Academic Affairs, and Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden in announcing the institutions’ plans to facilitate training during a media event held Feb. 16 at the University of Delaware’s Visitor Center.
The program – entitled Stewards of Children Training – teach how to recognize the signs and symptoms of sexual child abuse in children, the preventive measures that can be taken, and the mandatory reporting actions that must be taken when such sexual child abuse is suspected.
Last September, Attorney General Biden, the YMCA of Delaware, and Prevent Child Abuse Delaware announced a collaborative partnership to train 35,000 Delawareans, or about 5% of the state’s population in the Stewards of Children program in five years. The program is already being implemented in 48 states and 10 countries.
Del. Attorney General Beau Biden, who commended DSU and the other institutions of higher education for their commitment to facilitate Stewards for Children training, stands with DSU President Harry L. Williams, and Dr. Gwendolyn Scott-Jones, who will lead the training at DSU.
“DSU is proud to join the University of Delaware, Delaware Tech and the Attorney General’s Office in this important training initiative,” said Dr. Williams. “I am confident that from the facilitating efforts of these three state institutions of higher education, Delaware can achieve its goal of training 35,000 people in the state.”
The DSU President announced that Dr. Gwendolyn Scott-Jones, chair of the DSU Psychology Department, would lead DSU’s involvement in facilitating the training on campus and out in the community.
“Dr. Scott-Jones became one of the first certified (Steward for Children) facilitators in Delaware in April 2011,” Dr. Williams said. “Through Dr. Scott-Jones and others’ work, DSU was the first higher education institution in Delaware to partner with Prevent Child Abuse in Delaware (PCA) to implement the on-site training in the State of Delaware.
The Steward for Children training will be provided this year to DSU’s more than 900 employees, as well as to community stakeholder groups.
Dr. Scott-Jones said she is excited about partnering with community stakeholders and implementing the trainings here on-site at Delaware State University.
“The training program teaches adults how to prevent, recognize and react responsible to child sexual abuse,” she said. “More specifically, the implementation of this program here at DSU is a monumental opportunity to increase knowledge/awareness, improve attitudes, and change child protective behaviors.”
Attorney General Biden said that it is not a child’s job to protect him or herself from abuse, but it is the job of adults. He noted that one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18, yet only one in ten abused kids reaches out for help.
“This program gives adults the tools and the information we need to protect kids, who in 9 out of 10 cases are victimized by someone they know,” Attorney General Biden said. “Everyone in Delaware is a mandatory reporter – we are all obligated to intervene when we see a child in danger, but we don’t always know what to look for. When only one in ten abused children reaches out for help, we know that it falls to the adults to see the signs and make the call.”