background img

Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Helping a Child Cope With the Effects of Family Violence

Macey’s* Story

When seven-year-old Macey first started meeting with a children’s advocate at SafeHouse Denver, she was scared that she would have to find another mother out on the street. She had overheard her father threaten to kill her mother and was certain he meant it.

Each week while her mom met with a women’s advocate at SafeHouse Denver, Macey and her advocate worked on a safety plan together. She identified safe neighbors she could go to for help, learned how to dial 911 and established a code word with her mother so Macey would know when to call if her family needed help.

During the summer months, Macey participated in a children’s group

What every parent should know to prevent sexual abuse

Child sexual abusers count on your silence and discomfort, so if we’re going to prevent child sexual abuse, we must shatter this silence by learning the facts and empowering our children. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, so I sat down with Feather Berkower, co-author of Off Limits: A Parent’s Guide to Keeping Kids Safe from Sexual Abuse, on what it means to build kids, homes, and communities that are off limits!

1. How do you raise an “off limits” child?
To raise an off-limits child, parents screen all caregivers and empower their children with body-safety rules. I’ve received a bunch of emails recently from parents raising kids who are off-limits. It’s amazing what happens when parents teach their kids body-safety rules and talk with every caregiver (prospective and current) about their child’s body-safety rules.

Here’s an example. A couple was out on a date and their son was with a sitter, someone whom they had “screened.” When they got home, the sitter said she was giving their son a bath and the four year old said, “No one is allowed to touch my private parts, so I will wash my own penis.” That’s an off-limits kid. His parents are teaching him body-safety rules such as, “No one is allowed to touch your private

2. What makes a child vulnerable to sexual abuse? / Which kids do abusers target?

Wounded kids learn how to navigate world at Mount St. Vincent Home

By the time a child gets to Mount St. Vincent Home, he or she has been abused, neglected or witnessed abuse. Some have mental illness, and some have been in several living situations.

Some arrive with only a plastic bag, filled with a few clothes and maybe a favorite toy. They are scared and afraid they will be rejected again, said the home’s director, Sister Amy Willcott.

“We don’t know all of what they’ve gone through,” she said. “We have some pretty darned challenging kids.”

Boulder journalist hopes her book helps end sex abuse of children

Tracy Ross hopes her third child, due in August, will be the daughter to whom she can give all the things her parents didn’t give her — empathy, validation and safety.

“I want a little girl because I can teach her how to be an empowered person that will stand up for others,” says the Boulder journalist, whose book, The Source of All Things: A Memoir, is the wellspring of her renewed confidence as a woman and mother.

The book hit stores this week. It chronicles Ross’ harrowing tale of recovery in the wake of childhood sexual abuse, confronting the stepfather who abused her from ages 8 to 14 and forgiving the mother who didn’t believe her.

Ross wants her