Crisis center ready to answer parents' questions

July 06, 1993|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff Writer

What do parents want to know about preventing or detecting child sexual abuse? Professionals at the Rape Crisis Intervention Service want to know.

The private, nonprofit agency in Westminster wants parents to call or write to the service's office with questions they would like to have answered.

The input will help community educator Diana Steppling prepare a presentation that will be televised in September on Channel 3, the community access channel, she said.

"We had done a program last year on why kids need to know about sexual abuse," Ms. Steppling said. "This year, we want to do one on what parents want to know."

But first, she said, she wants parents' input to round out her perspective.

As professionals, she said, "We just get to the point where we know certain things and they're obvious to us. We need to be aware of what other people want to know."

For example, professionals know that 90 percent of sexual abuse of children is committed by relatives and friends, and only 10 percent by strangers. But most nonprofessionals are surprised by that, she said.

All questions will be treated confidentially, and no one need give their name when writing or calling, Ms. Steppling said.

To submit a question, either for an immediate answer or to be used in the program, call 857-0900, or write to the agency at P.O. Box 1563, Westminster 21158.

Ms. Steppling said the community education she provides is paid for equally by county and state funds -- grants from the Department of Human Resources that provided $20,000 the past two years.

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