Bucks County to fight child sex abuse by training adults to recognize it

Jim Melwert
January 09, 2019 - 1:51 pm
Bucks County announces Darkness to Light program to educate adults on how to recognize, prevent, or respond to and report child sex abuse.

Jim Melwert/KYW Newsradio

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BUCKS COUNTY, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — A new program to fight child sex abuse is being offered in Bucks County. 

County officials are hoping as many people as possible will sign up for the two-hour program. 

Network of Victim Assistance Executive Director Penny Ettinger says statistics show one in 10 children will be sexually abused by the age of 18.

"It happens whether you are rich or poor," she said. "It happens whether you are well-educated or don’t have an education."

Bucks is one of five counties in Pennsylvania awarded a grant to fund a program called Darkness to Light: Stewards of Children. Bucks County Housing and Human Services Director John Rubin says the goal is to fight child sex abuse by training adults how to recognize and address it.

"To raise education, raise awareness, and help people know how to help a child and how to report it and how to support families through this process," Rubin said.

Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub says, even in the wake of high-profile child sex abuse cases, he still sees people who want to believe these things could never actually happen.

"The reality is we need this 'darkness into light' program because we have to educate people and make sure they know these things do happen in the real world whether we like it or not. Whether we keep our eyes opened or closed, they are occurring."

The program is funded by the fines that Penn State paid in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.