Crime & Law,
Protection Against Abuse,
Sexual Abuse Prevention
Mission: Family support line helps children, families, and professionals address the trauma of child sexual abuse. Our services include:1) comprehensive prevention programs,2) specialized treatment,3) professional training, and4) advocacy our vision is to advance the prevention and treatment of child sexual abuse.
Programs: A. Prevention education:in keeping with current trends in social behavior, prevention programs for children and youth cover not only the traditional forms of sexual abuse, sexual harassment and dating safety but have expanded to include safety with technology. Social networking has opened many avenues for perpetrators and issues of abuse on the internet such as luring, sexting and cyber bullying. For the coming year, these issues will continue to be important components of the programming. The core program includes the following:- children and youth. A personal safety program works to reach students at various ages, grade and ability levels helping them to keep themselves safe from child sexual abuse. To stay safe, it is imperative that children understand inappropriate sexual behavior and feel comfortable talking about the subject. In a three session seminar series, elementary students learn the basic concepts of personal space, appropriate touch, and trusting their instincts through age appropriate songs, videos and role-plays. Middle and high school students also participate in a three session seminar series and learn about sexual harassment, date rape, sexual abuse, bullying and healthy relationships through discussion, video and role-plays. - teachers. Educating teachers, who are mandated reporters by law, has been a component of family support line's programs since the early 1990s. Thousands of teachers throughout the region have been reached. There are no gray areas when it comes to reporting child sexual abuse. The ramifications around not reporting can be devastating to the child and to future victims. Therefore, it is imperative that educators know and understand the law and feel capable to carry out this mandate. Family support line's trainings explain the specifics of the laws, create awareness of the types of child sexual abuse, help faculty and staff recognize troublesome behaviors and know how best to handle disclosure. Trainings educate faculty and staff on reporting suspected incidents and outline the school's policies on sexual abuse. - parents. The parents are key prevention education program works to engage parent attention and create awareness of the problem of child sexual abuse. Introductory materials are distributed to parents after their child has participated in the personal safety program informing them of what their child has learned and inviting their participation in the parent seminar. The packet also contains literature that helps facilitate dialog between the parent and the child about personal safety. The core of the program is a professionally led seminar which provides important information to reduce parents' fear of the topic and help them feel more comfortable talking with their child about touching and personal safety. In fy12, prevention outreach included 7,600 individuals with 393 seminars at 46 different venues.
b. Treatment programsfamily support line offers both individual and group treatment for victims of child sexual abuse and their families through our therapy network and our community group program. - therapy network. Family support line receives numerous referrals each year from private therapists, community mental health centers, schools, physicians and county services for the provision of individual treatment services. Family support line's therapy network program provides clients seeking individual treatment with trained and credentialed therapists qualified in treating child sexual abuse. This creative collaboration leverages community resources to make a significant impact on reducing the trauma of child sexual abuse. Therapy network has a sliding scale with free and reduced rate services made available. Free service to low income families is partially supported through a state victims of crime act grant which is derived from crimes fees rather than tax dollars and this year an arra stimulus grant received through the pa commission on crime and delinquency will provide additional individual treatment scholarships to children and families. A growing list of referrals has increased demand and funding needs for this program. - community group program. Group therapy is known to be one of the more effective modalities to help child victims of sexual abuse. The value of group therapy comes from providing children a forum for sharing their experiences with peers in a healthy manner, helping them to regain lost self-respect and respect for others through the establishment of appropriate social boundaries. Often trauma victims have confusing and conflicting emotional experiences. In the group process, there is the ability for children to obtain validation for their feelings. This helps to decrease isolation, which in turn increases the chance of positive interactions and lowers the risk for further sexual abuse experiences. Secrecy is an inherent ingredient to the cycle of sexual abuse, whether it is incest, rape, or some other type of sexual assault. The group provides a safe place for the sharing of secrets but also does not allow for the maintenance of secrets - group members help each other tell their stories in an accepting and secure way. Community group programs run twice per year, once in the spring for 15-weeks and once in the fall for 12-weeks. There are no fees for child participants in the community group program. A number of initiatives have worked to refine the community group program and have contributed to the program's long-term success. Free transportation and child care eliminates a critical barrier to participation. Having each group led by a team of two professionals working together provides the best possible leadership scenario. Attendance rates are high with little to no members dropping out. - parents. Family support line provides group treatment for parents through path (parents as the healers) and the parents support group. Path is an introductory psycho-educational session that provides support and information to empower parents as they begin the healing process with their child. The parent support group is a group for non-offending parents. The group gives parents a forum to share and learn together and addresses their concerns about their childs response to trauma, how to deal with their own guilt and how to build their child's self-esteem. In fy12, treatment services reached 144 victims and their families in 950 sessions. "i think (my daughter) going to group has improved her self esteem. " - a parent participant - 97% of child participants reported feeling safe in the group. 94% felt supported by their group leaders and by their peers and that confidentiality had been maintained. - 60% of clients reported significant improvement [between 60% and 82%] in at least 7 areas of their life including getting feedback from members, talking about their abuse, reaching out to supportive adults, their behavior at school, their relationships outside of the group and their hope for the future. - 100% of parent participants reported significant improvement [between 76% and 100%] in 8 areas of their lives including getting feedback from members, understanding their child's sexual abuse, talking to other supportive people, helping their child heal, their ability to cope and their hope for the future. - secondary programs. Family support line also conducts numerous specialized groups as requested and on a fee for service basis, and will continue to do so throughout the coming year. Over the years, these have included groups for populations of adult survivors, perpetrators of child sexual abuse, and those with sexually reactive behavior living in residential settings. The agency also provides consultation to schools, churches, residential facilities and other organizations around policy development and to help them respond to incidences of abuse that may occur at their site. Additionally, family support line conducts a specialized life skills group for children who are aging out of the foster care system and a co-parenting counseling program for parents who need information to help them work collaboratively in raising their children together while apart from one another.
c. Professional trainingthrough a well-developed relationship with widener university's post graduate center, institute for graduate clinical psychology and center for social work education over the past 6 years, family support line has been building professional training resources for treatment and behavioral health care professionals. This collaboration expands treatment resources making this specialized service more accessible throughout the region. - child sexual abuse treatment certificate. This professional certificate of completion requires 36 hours of approved workshops offered by family support line and widener university's center for social work education and widener's post-graduate center. Participants have up to 24 months to complete the certificate requirements. - child sexual abuse treatment: opening pandora's box conference. The conference held annually for 9 years provides information on the latest research and modalities in the treatment of child sexual abuse and builds the technical expertise of behavioral health professionals, enabling them to respond to the needs of sexually abused children and families. - professional reading group. A free monthly meeting for professionals to discuss a selected book on the topic of child sexual abuse treatment. Running from september to may for the past 9 years, the forum provides in informal place to learn, network and share. - child sexual abuse training for professionals. This on-site training for social service and treatment professionals provides the tools to work with the complexities of child sexual abuse by facing fears, alleviating misconceptions, breaking down denial and building competencies. In fy12, 230 professionals participated in a professional training program. "there was a rich, deep exploration by those, i felt, are very knowledgeable. I was able to find valuable and applicable learning throughout. " -- a certificate graduate