Child abuse awareness grows following sex abuse scandals in PA & NY

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE)- Child sexual abuse is something no parents ever wants their child to experience. The Exploited Children's Help Organization (ECHO) said 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused by age 18. Kentucky State law says suspected child abuse must be reported. There are things you can talk about with your child, things you can do to help protect them from abuse.

Child sexual abuse is a nationwide crisis coming to light as former Penn State University assistant coach Jerry Sandusky faces allegations of sexually abusing young boys.

"As shocking as this story is, it is just the tip of the iceberg, when we understand the enormity of the issue of child sexual abuse," Said Lucy Lee, Executive Director of ECHO.

Friday-, Exploited Children's Help Organization or "ECHO" committed to expanding its educational programs, such as personal body safety.

"We teach children that the private parts of their body are the parts that are covered by a swimming suit and that no one should touch the private parts of their body unless it's someone that's trying to keep them clean or healthy," Said Lee.

Lee said ECHO teaches personal body safety to thousands of kindergarten through high school aged students at churches, schools and many other community organizations. Lee said often, an abuser is someone the child knows, trusts or respects. She said there may be changes in a child, oftentimes she said there are not.

"Teaching kids to say no, get away and tell someone," Said Lee.

Lee urges parents to regularly talk to their children.

"If we do that, and we tell our children 'You can always tell me' and then we promise our children 'if you tell me, I will believe you and I will make sure it stops," Said Lee.

Carol Cobb is an Assistant Commonwealth's attorney.

"I want to make sure that there's no misunderstanding about this. If you suspect that a child is being abused, than you must report immediately. And when you do that, not only are you helping that child to get immediate assistance, whether it's psychological treatment, whether there's going to be a police investigation," Said Cobb. "All of those things may occur. But, you may also prevent another child from ever being abused."

Cobb said if you suspect child abuse and you don't report it, in Kentucky, you can be prosecuted. You must report it to either Child Protective Services, local law enforcement, or the Commonwealth's or County Attorney's office.

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