INTERVIEW: Parents efforts against sexual abuse

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The scandal at Penn State has brought new focus to the issue of the sexual abuse of children. It has also raised new awareness to parents, to step up their efforts to make sure their kids don't become victims.

Joining me live to talk about this is Ian Danielsen. He is from SCAN, or Stop Child Abuse Now network.

RYAN: Ian, thank you so much for being here.

IAN: Thank you for having me.

RYAN: Obviously this has got to hit very closely to you that you're so involved with sex abuse victims. What should parents take from this experience, and seeing that it was somebody that was such a high profile person in the community that people respected that was capable of a time like this?

IAN: Well first I'd like to say that on behalf of SCAN and on behalf of the Richmond community, our hearts go out to the children and to their caring family members with the tragedy and crisis they are going through right now. The best that we can do is turn this into lessons learned. Some of the lessons learned include that child protection is the responsibility of all adults. Some of us are mandated reporters, meaning that because of our professional position, we're required to report suspected abuse to protective services. But all adults have a moral and ethical mandate to act somehow protective and to tell someone who is in a position to intervene for those kid's protection.

RYAN: This has hit home for me as a father of two young children. What do I need to do as a father to make sure my kid's don't get into this kind of situation? Is this a conversation that you have to have with your kids to prepare them if they do find themselves in an uncomfortable situation?

IAN: I'm glad you brought up the issue of communication with your kids. The kids should feel safe and comfortable in communicating with you daily about their likes and dislikes about people, about whom they're uncomfortable and about experiences that they enjoy. The talk about physical abuse or sexual abuse should not be a single talk. It should be an ongoing relationship in which kids feel comfortable speaking to their parents. We'd also like to guide you and other parents to our website at to the darkness and light website where there's a very effective training for citizens at large who want to learn to act more protectively for sexual abuse prevention.

RYAN: We talked about reporting it, and one of the big issue that seems to keep coming up with this story is that Jerry Sandusky was such an important figure, how could I be the one to accuse him.  If you are aware of a situation like this, who is the best person to go to to report something like that?

IAN: Absolutely. Someone who knows how to reach child protective services. Almost all states have 24-hour state child protective services hotline. So if everyone acts persistently until someone that's reached that knows who to call. It's not that everyone is going to have that phone number handy, but somebody knows somebody who does.

RYAN: Ian Danielsen, thank you so much for your incredible insight. Thank you for being here.

IAN: Thank you.

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