MURRAY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Child pornography. It’s a horrific crime happening in Utah that we uncovered in an exclusive report with the Utah Attorney General’s Office. Since our story, the AG’s Office has been bombarded with calls, emails, and comments on social media with parents wanting to know how to protect their children from sex abuse.
“We found it to be a very powerful report,” said Richard Piatt, Communications Director, Utah Attorney General’s Office. “I think people, in general, are interested in how they can help, how they can protect their kids, how they can make the community safer.”
To answer all of the questions, the AG’s Office is putting together a video that will be posted on its website and social media outlets.
Prior to the video being posted, Heather Stewart, with the Children’s Justice Program at the Attorney General’s Office provided some insight.
She says parents can help prevent child sexual abuse by starting the conversation early.
“When they’re young, very young, we start to give them information about body safety and proper names for body parts and that they’re in control of their own bodies and people can’t touch them or make them uncomfortable, especially without their permission.”
She says, as kids get older, you can give them real-life examples.
“For instance, “what if you go to a sleepover at your friend’s house and the older brother says something or wants you to do something or makes you feel uncomfortable?” Talking through scenarios like that with children can be really really helpful,” Stewart explained.
And if a child does disclose sex abuse, Stewart says it’s important to start by believing them.
“Reassure the child they are doing the right thing by speaking up. Tell them that you’re sorry this happened to them, it’s not their fault, and absolutely report it.”
“The national data tells us that children make up allegations of sexual abuse less than 10 percent of the time. It’s much more likely that a child will never tell or that they will delay in disclosing.”
To report child sex abuse you can call 1-855-323-DCFS. Someone is there to answer 24 hours a day, seven days a week.