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More than 1,200 Law Enforcement Officials, Advocates Participate in Statewide Child Abuse Program


Attorney General Andy Beshear announced more than 1,200 law enforcement, prosecutors, social workers and community advocates participated in nearly 20 statewide trainings aimed at protecting Kentucky’s children from sexual abuse.

Beshear and First Lady Glenna Bevin announced the trainings in February.

“When we launched these trainings earlier this year, Kentucky took a major step toward helping all Kentuckians understanding that it’s everyone’s legal duty and moral responsibility to protect children from abuse,” Beshear said. “Our training outreach in communities across the Commonwealth was well received and well attended. We have laid the groundwork to create stronger and more extensive child safety measures for our families in the future.”

The trainings were selected by the Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Prevention Board and made possible through funding from the Child Victims’ Trust Fund, administered by the Office of the Attorney General.

The trainings were held in Florence, Morehead, Maysville, Elizabethtown, Henderson, Louisville, Ashland, Hazard, Pikeville, Lexington, Jamestown, London, Bowling Green and Paducah.

Beshear will speak at the final training Friday, Nov. 4 at the Pennyrile Area Development District in Hopkinsville.

The Child Victims’ Trust Fund awards funding to regional and statewide prevention programs that utilize innovative strategies to provide children with personal safety skills, teach adults how to keep children safe from child sexual abuse and exploitation, and inform the public about mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse.

Partners in the trainings include the Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities; the Kentucky Association of Child Advocacy Centers; the Department of Criminal Justice Training and Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky or PCAK.

“The impact of the trainings funded by the Child Victims’ Trust Fund will continue to be felt in the months to come,” said Jill Seyfred, executive director of PCAK. “Not only were more than 1,200 people trained, resources were developed which will now be distributed to supplement those trainings. Couple these two approaches with the continued funding, and the legislative emphasis from the newly appointed Task Force, Kentucky’s adults will be better equipped to shoulder the responsibility of ensuring our children are safe from predators.”

Beshear said a majority of the 2016 trainings focused on protecting children from molester selection, engagement and seduction by giving attendees revealing advice that sex offenders have shared with instructor Cory Jewell Jensen, M.S, a nationally recognized child advocate and the co-director of the Center for Behavioral Intervention.

“Approximately one out of every 214 males in Kentucky is a registered sex offender,” Jenson said “Considering only five to 13 percent of victims even disclose their abuse, we have to do a better job of educating professionals and the public alike. This child abuse prevent project in Kentucky makes it a leader nationwide in terms of child safety, community policing and crime prevention initiatives.”

Beshear thanks the First Lady and all the partners who made these trainings successful.

And while he is pleased with the success of the 2016 trainings, Beshear said the focus of his office will continue to be child safety and sexual predator apprehension in 2017.

The Office of the Attorney General, including Beshear, testified before the House Task Force on Child Abuse and Exploitation Prevention last week about his office’s legislative proposals for the upcoming session of the Kentucky General Assembly in January.

Beshear’s legislative agenda includes requiring background checks for all staff at summer camps, prohibiting sex offenders from being on playgrounds and making those convicted of human trafficking register as a sex offender.

“Studies suggest that one in three of all people who applied for employment and/or volunteering at a summer camp have something that pops up on a background check that suggests they shouldn’t be in charge of children,” Beshear said. “That’s one-third of the people applying. In Kentucky, we don’t even check because it’s not required.”

The Attorney General’s office supports children and families through its Office of Victims Advocacy; Office of Child Abuse and Exploitation Prevention; and its Cyber Crimes Unit, which since Jan. 4 has arrested or convicted 44 sexual predators in Kentucky.

Story provided by (Kentucky.gov)