IRVING, Texas–April 3, 2006–In response to the staggering increase each year in child abuse, and as part of a continued effort to educate youth and adults to recognize and report child abuse, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is recognizing April as Youth Protection Month.
Each year, the number of reported incidents of child abuse increases. According to the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information, in 2003 an estimated 1.9 million referrals concerning child welfare were made to and investigated by state child protective services agencies (CPS). This is only an estimate and does not include the vast numbers of unreported incidents and incidents not accepted for investigation. Of that 1.9 million, more than 900,000 children were determined to be victims of abuse or neglect, and more than 100,000 victims of sexual abuse.
Throughout April, BSA will place extra emphasis on its Youth Protection programs and initiatives. Boy Scout councils across America have access to a newly revised DVD set of educational programs for youth and parents on personal safety, recognizing dangerous situations and avoiding becoming victims.
“Child sexual abuse is a problem in our society, and it demands the attention of all youth-serving organizations,” said Jim Terry, director, Assistant Chief Scout Executive, of the BSA. “This is why April as Youth Protection Month is so very important. The Boy Scouts of America advocates parents becoming actively involved with their children. In combating child abuse, we stress the importance of parents having ongoing communication with their children. It is worthwhile to talk to your children every day and take time to listen and observe.”
The BSA program targets child abuse on five primary levels, focusing on: education in detecting and preventing child abuse; leader selection procedures for organizations that charter Scout troops and packs, Venturing Crews and Explorer Posts; rules to help prevent abuse; prompt reporting of incidents; and action when incidents are reported.
Throughout all levels of Scouting, the BSA empowers youth to prevent child abuse through the “Three R’s Of Youth Protection” – Recognize, Resist and Report.
– Recognize that anyone could be a child abuser, and be aware of situations that could lead to abuse
– Resist advances made by child molesters to avoid being abused, and know that it is OK to tell adults “no,” which many children feel they should not do out of respect for adults
– Report any molestation or attempted molestation immediately to parents or other trusted adults
Boy Scout councils throughout the United States will also participate in a variety of activities to recognize April as “Youth Protection Month,” including online leader training updates, unit discussions of youth protection information, viewing of youth protection videos, child ID kits and fingerprinting and more.
Serving nearly 4.5 million young people between 7 and 20 years of age with more than 300 councils throughout the United States and its territories, the Boy Scouts of America is the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. For more information on the BSA, please visit www.scouting.org.