Citadel to undergo training in child sexual abuse prevention

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Citadel announced an expanded partnership Wednesday with Darkness to Light, a Charleston nonprofit dedicated to preventing child abuse.

According to a release, The Citadel will partner with Darkness to Light to train every student, employee and campus resident on how to prevent child sexual abuse.

In partnership with Darkness to Light, all Citadel employees, cadets and graduate and evening undergraduate students along with members of the Board of Visitors and campus residents 18 and older will receive training through the Stewards of Children program, which is designed to teach adults how to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse , the release states.

"The Citadel has the challenge and opportunity to set a new standard within our community," said President Lt. Gen. John W. Rosa. "This partnership with Darkness to Light demonstrates our commitment to serving as an example to others and making The Citadel a safe place to live, learn, work and visit."

Training for the approximately 650 people that make up the faculty and staff at The Citadel will begin on Oct. 10 and be completed by the end of the year.

Next semester training for cadets, evening undergraduate and graduate college students, which total more than 3,000 students, will take place.

Stephenie Hewett, associate professor in the School of Education and a trained Stewards of Children facilitator, will lead the training initiative at The Citadel. By May 1, 2013, she plans to have 3,650 people who live and work on The Citadel campus trained using the Stewards of Children program.

After May 1, annual training will be offered to all new Citadel employees. In addition, Hewett and the School of Education are developing a progressive and sustainable program to annually train new cadets and Graduate College students and to create leadership opportunities for students to become trainers and facilitators. In future years, certified students will have the chance to serve as leaders and trainers among their peers.

In 2006 The Citadel School of Education made Stewards of Children training part of its curriculum and a graduation requirement for both undergraduate and graduate students in its teacher education, counseling, literacy education and educational leadership programs. The Stewards of Children training also has been offered within the college's psychology program.

"We are honored to stand by The Citadel today and celebrate the leadership to protect children," said Jolie Logan, D2L President and CEO. "Today's announcement marks the expansion of D2L training programs that began at The Citadel in 2006 and will soon look to achieve our Partner in Prevention designation by training 100-percent of staff and students.

"Recent events have made our community talk more openly about the difficult issue of CSA," she said. "And today's announcement will keep the dialogue alive, leading to better awareness, education and development of organizational policy to end CSA."

Copyright 2012 WCSC.  All rights reserved.