Talking about the sexual abuse of children is an unpleasant subject to be sure, but our discomfort about it is nothing compared to what a child endures who is sexually abused. The hard fact is that nearly 70% of all reported sexual assaults happen to children under the age of 17. The average age of a victim is 9 years old, but more than 20% were abused before their eighth birthday.
It's shocking to learn that 30% to 40% of sexual assaults on kids are perpetrated by a family member. 50% of child sexual assaults are committed by friends and acquaintances of the child's family. Strangers account for only 10% of child sexual assaults. The fact is that jovial Uncle Herbie or the neighbor who always wants to take your kid somewhere could very well be the most terrifying person in your child's life. And the chance that your child will actually tell you about it is very, very slim.
Is NH immune from deviants who would so harm a child? Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding no. Nearly 20,000 cases are investigated each year throughout our state. Victims are as young as 3 years old.
On Monday morning of this week, a new "Tell It Like It Is With Public Officials" show was taped with Hillsborough County Attorney Patricia LaFrance and with Kristie Palestino, the Executive Director of the Granite State Children's Alliance, and Director of the NH Network of Child Advocacy Centers. What they have to say is mind-boggling. What they have to say will provide you with information that every caring adult should know. What they have to say could very well help you to recognize when a child has been sexually abused, and help you to end the torment of that child.
The show is the first of a two-part show that will ultimately be aired on BCTV, and hopefully on other NH public access stations as well. But you can and should watch Part One now by going to this link: http://youtu.be/UCCDHSczRqY . It will also be available on the show's website at www.tellitlikeitisnh.com . Look for it on the Most Recent Shows page, or under the County Attorney designation on the Public Officials page.
Yes, some of what you hear will make your skin crawl. But what you will hear may also help you to prevent your child or another child in your life from being sexually abused. Or, it may even enable you to help rescue a child from what no innocent should ever experience. Make no mistake about it - - - we have lots of kids in New Hampshire who definitely need our surveillance and our help.