Prevention and Training

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1 in 10 children in the US are sexually abused before their 18th birthday¹, including in Ottawa County. As many as 90% of victims of child sexual abuse knew their perpetrators, such as a family member or a coach.  Statistics like these, though they are true, can be overwhelming, and it sometimes feels like there is nothing we can do to make a difference. That is far from the truth! Both children and adults have the power to make our community safer. As adults, we put babies into car seats, we walk children across a busy street and we ask teenagers questions about where they are going and who they are going with, all to keep them safe. As adults, we have the same power and ability to keep the children in our lives safe from sexual abuse. Do you want to use your power to keep the children and youth in your life safe?

A great prevention resource we utilize often is The Mama Bear Effect. Head over to their website to learn more information!



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What We Do.

Child Abuse Prevention: Kids Have Rights (KHR) accomplishes its mission by partnering and working collaboratively with area elementary schools to present body safety lessons during the school day that are engaging, child-centered, and age-appropriate. The program's goal is for children to learn that they have the right to feel safe from harm and the right to tell and be believed when talking about unsafe touches. Children also identify safe adults who they could go to for help and support.

The KHR curriculum is based on the latest research and informed by the expertise of the program educators, CAC’s therapists, forensic interviewers, law enforcement, and others.

KHR educators present a 30 – 60 minute lesson (dependent upon grade level) which is reinforced by subsequent mini-lessons taught by the classroom teacher.

Supplemental materials are sent home so that parents/caregivers may work with their child to reinforce lessons and increase their knowledge and comfort in talking to their child about body safety.  Parents/caregivers are taught the warning signs of child sexual abuse and how to listen and respond appropriately to their child.

When a child knows that they have adults in their lives who will listen to them, who will believe them, and who will help them, they are more willing to tell their story free of hesitation or fear.

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What Teachers Say about Kids Have Rights.

“I think this is SUCH an important topic for kids to be aware of and educated on. My kids loved the lessons and always had lots of questions. I feel like it had such a great impact and felt like my students were able to share thoughts and ask questions, even though I thought they would not at first!” – 2nd grade teacher

“My students are very sure that they can come talk to me when they have problems. It builds an awareness that they need to identify the safe adults in their lives.” – 1st grade teacher

“The lesson provided was great. It was clear and age-appropriate. The instructor in my classroom was comfortable and at ease, which made me students very comfortable with what might have been uncomfortable content.” – 2nd grade teacher

Why We Do It.

In 1998, the Children’s Advocacy Center of Ottawa County began providing services to child victims of sexual abuse. As the forensic interviewers heard children’s stories of abuse year after year, they began to envision a program that would reach out to children, caregivers, and schools in the community.  Their vision included providing education for children, parents, caregivers, and school staff that would halt the cycle of child sexual abuse.

Our prevention program expanded to include the Child Abuse Prevention: Kids Have Rights body safety program beginning in the fall of 2019. Our team visits Kindergarten through 4th grade classrooms each school year throughout Ottawa County.  Research states that one in ten children will be the victim of sexual abuse before their 18th birthday, so we still have much work to do, and we need your help to do it.

The CAC partners with 97% of the elementary schools in Ottawa County for this important program!

Darkness TO LIGHT


This training is intended for youth-serving organizations, community members, and anyone interested in keeping children safe. Participants will learn how to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. It is the only nationally distributed, evidence-based program proven to increase knowledge, improve attitudes, and change child-protective behaviors. Approximately 2.5 hours in duration.

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How Perpetrators Groom Children

Grooming is a deliberate process used by perpetrators to establish a relationship with a child for the purpose of gaining the child's trust and cooperation in order to accomplish a desired sexual act.

Join us in learning the seven steps in the grooming process and how to intervene.

Mandated Reporter Training

Participants will receive a Mandated Reporter Toolkit with the latest research and information related to mandated reporting practices for the State of Michigan. Participants will learn what types of concerns need to be reported and who to contact.

Intended for school personnel, agency professionals, and community members. Approximately 1.5 hours in duration.

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5 Steps to protect children

A one-hour presentation including 5 simple strategies to protect children and respond to sexual abuse:

Learn the key facts, Minimize Opportunity, Talk about it, Recognize the signs, React responsibly