Nearly 150 professionals, including law enforcement, educators, social workers, and more gathered in Salina on Wednesday to learn a little more about the topic of child sexual abuse. The Child Advocacy & Parenting Services agency partnered with the Smoky Hill Education Service Center to present “Child Sexual Abuse: Our Response Matters “.
CAPS Executive Director Lori Blake told KSAL News that they wanted to reach as many professionals as possible who deal with the topic.
Nationally known speaker, author and child advocate Jenna Quinn was the keynote speaker. She told her emotional story of surviving sexual abuse. She has dedicated her life fighting against sexual abuse of children and adolescents.
Since opening up about her abuse, Jenna has been on a campaign to spare others her torment. The first step in that campaign was sharing her story publicly only days after her abuser was sentenced to 20 years in prison. She helped get Jenna’s Law passed in Texas, requiring educators to teach personal safety skills in grades K-12.
Jenna said that the key to overcoming sex abuse is education. She said that with the proper education 95 percent of cases could be avoided.
Jenna’s mom, Kellie Quinn, spoke about her perspective. As a mother and teacher Kellie missed the signs and symptoms of the abuse her daughter was displaying.
Jenna and her family received counseling and support in Texas at the Children’s Advocacy Center, much like Chris’s Place Child Advocacy Center in Salina and 17 other centers across the state of Kansas.
Blake said that child sex abuse is a problem everywhere, even in Salina.
Following the presentations by Jenna and her mother, there were 4 break-out sessions geared to teach law enforcement officers, educators, social workers, and others in human services about specific curriculum offered by CAPS, the Smoky Hill Education Service Center, and the Domestic Violence Association of Central Kansas and how prevention policies are at work in Kansas. Topics included Sexual Abuse Prevention Education for children ages 3-8 years, Healthy Relationships for teens and young adults, and Bullying Prevention training including how to respond to those affected by issues surrounding lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender rights.