Preventing sexual abuse is focus of training for clergy, others at Staten Island workshop

Posted by Sonia on June 6, 2012 at 7:40 PM

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- A taboo topic which is very much in the news these days will be the focus of a free child abuse prevention program on June 28 at Temple Emanu-El in Port Richmond.


While the event is open to all, the flier specifically invites clergy, community leaders, teachers, parents and concerned adults.


Rabbi Gerald Sussman said he is hosting the event because he sees it as an opportunity to provide an important service to the entire community of Staten Island. He noted that "no one is immune" from the such incidents which occur in every religious, ethnic and economic group.

"I think it's important to have some training because it is something which is sadly a lot more prevalent than people would like to think," Rabbi Sussman said.


Statistics indicate that one out of six boys and one out of four girls will be sexually abused before the age of 18, according to a flier announcing the event.


"Rather than sweeping it under the rug, we should let people know what to watch out for and what to do when they come across these kinds of things," Rabbi Sussman said.


Sometimes the people who learn of the abuse don't know what to do or how to react, he noted.


"Maybe by being alert to it we could prevent it from happening and when it does happen we could react in a more constructive and positive way and will know better how to help the victims," Rabbi Sussman said, adding, "We could prevent a lot of hurt and damage."


The training is underwritten by a grant from City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

The event is sponsored by Dayenu! Enough!, the Domestic Violence Initiative of the New York Board of Rabbis, which has trained about 2,500 people in the New York Metro area since initiating the child sexual abuse prevention training in 2007.


Attendees will be taught seven steps to prevent, recognize and react responsibly, said Diana Gerson, program director for the New York Board of Rabbis.


"It's always tough to find a congregation that wants to host the program," Ms. Gerson said. "It's a tough topic for people to talk about; it's just a tough reality."


She thanked and praised Rabbi Sussman for his leadership in hosting the event.


Darkness to Light's Stewards of Children -- Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Training is billed as "the only prevention training that is third party evaluated and proven to work" on a flier announcing the event.


"Preventing child sexual abuse is a job for adults...Protect their only childhood" the flier reads.

The training will count for three credit hours of continuing education units for social workers and counselors.


The training will be held from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Temple Emanu-El, 984 Post Ave. RSVP by June 22 by e-mailing Ms. Gerson at [email protected] or call (212) 983-3521, ext. 21.






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