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Workshop teaches how to prevent abuse
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Stewards of Children

What: Adults Protecting Children workshop teaching ways to prevent child sexual abuse
When: 9-11 a.m. Tuesday
Where: Blue Ridge Room, Northeast Georgia Medical Center's Lanier Park campus, 675 White Sulphur Road, Gainesville
How much: $15
To register: E-mail your name and job title to paige.ferrell@nghs.com

According to Steve Collins, there's a sad truth some people may not be aware of - sexual abuse of children is more prevalent than you may think.

"I worked for a Christian mission agency for 17 years and we had to deal with child sexual abuse on mission fields; that's how I got involved in prevention training," said Collins, president of Adults Protecting Children, a nonprofit based in Flowery Branch. "You would like to think that it doesn't happen anywhere - especially not churches or mission fields, but unfortunately it's happening everywhere. One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday."

In an effort to curtail abuse, Collins founded Adults Protecting Children to train adults to "prevent, recognize and react responsibly" to the sexual abuse of children.

"When I first went through training, it became really
clear to me how much time, money and resources it takes to deal with the treatment side of abuse," Collins said. "I didn't see anyone being intentional about bringing about prevention."

According to Collins, the teaching materials he uses are the "only evidence-based, third-party evaluated material proven over time to change the protective behaviors of adults."

On Tuesday, Collins is offering a Stewards of Children workshop at Northeast Georgia Medical Center's Lanier Park campus. The 2 1/2- hour workshop will give attendees the opportunity to learn ways to help reduce child sexual abuse in their work place, church and other community groups. Participants also can earn three continuing education credits.

The Lumpkin County School System recently partnered with Collins to offer the training to employees.

"Adults ought to be the ones to keep kids safe. This training is for everyone - teachers, neighbors that live in a community with children, grandparents - everyone," Collins said. "Our goal is to have every adult in a child's life to have gone through training and put in place procedures and policies to keep kids safe. It says to predators that we aren't going to tolerate you abusing our children."

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