Talking to your kids about reporting sexual abuse

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. Brian Berg's five year old niece Tiffany is a student at Pear Park Elementary and he was shocked to hear about a teacher there possibly engaging in an inappropriate situation with an underage person.

He said wants to make sure she knows how important is it to tell someone about suspicious behavior.

Even through stranger danger is an important lesson to teach your children, the Western Slope for Children interviewed 330 kids who were sexually abused last year and an alarming 96% of them alleged they were abused by someone they knew.

Opening the lines of communication and explaining to kids as young as two years old about body parts and what's off limits for others to touch is important.

Experts say children and parents have too much trust in other adults, so your child should avoid having one on one interactions as much as possible.

"Make sure that they know that even teachers are not off limits in terms of the ability to abuse kids," Megan Ventling, Western Slope Center for Children.

The Mesa County Sheriff's Office's Complex Crime Unit deals with crimes against children. Officials said sometimes crimes go weeks, months or even years without being reported because kids are too scared or confused to say anything.

The more comfortable you make them in telling you, the sooner the information is out there and the better chance the abuser will be stopped from harming another child.

"That's the ultimate goal is just to get justice for our victims and their families and build that great case," Heather Benjamin, MSCO.

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