Hundreds Meet to Discuss Child Abuse Prevention

Article excerpt

Byline: SUSAN PALMER The Register-Guard

Forget stranger danger. Parents who want to protect their kids from sexual predators need to look closely at their circle of family and friends.

That's the message abuse prevention expert Cory Jewell-Jensen will deliver to parents in a free evening workshop Wednesday.

Her presentation on how and why sexual predators go after children is just one session of a three-day regional symposium on child abuse that has attracted 600 to 700 people from 14 states.

Sponsored by SCAR/Jasper Mountain, the symposium is geared for professionals who work with children, from police and counselors to teachers and clergy.

It brings together eight nationally recognized experts who will offer a variety of sessions on preventing abuse, treating traumatized children, investigating missing and abducted children and the increasing danger of sexual predators on the Internet.

SCAR/Jasper Mountain offers long-term treatment for children who have been severely abused or neglected.

Jewell-Jensen of Beaverton - a nationally known expert on sex offenders who runs the Center for Behavioral Intervention with her husband, Steve Jensen - designed the workshop for parents after years of presentations to law enforcement agencies on the techniques offenders use to get next to children.

The Beaverton center provides counseling and sex offender treatment programs for molesters, and the offenders themselves have explained how they target children.

Jewell-Jensen's most sobering message for parents is that they can't rely on current prevention training programs being used in schools and children's club organizations.

"There's this myth afoot that kids can protect themselves with `No, go, tell' strategies," she said.

Those strategies urge children to say no to molesters, get away from them and then tell a responsible adult, but Jewell-Jensen and others say molesters can easily overcome children's defenses over time, often making them feel complicit or responsible for the abuse. …