New partnership to combat child sex abuse

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A new partnership has been formed to help educate local children about sexual abuse.

The YMCA of Greater Springfield has teamed up with the Girl Scouts of Western Massachusetts and STCU Credit Union to create a new program that will give local fourth and fifth graders the tools they need to identify unhealthy relationships.  The program will be piloted with children enrolled in the YMCA’s school-age programs at the Dunbar Y and Downtown Springfield Y.

Kirk Smith is the President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Springfield.  He told 22News, “initiatives like this, number one, not only does it let them know how we care for their well being but also gives them the tools to protect them in those situations where they are uncomfortable.”

“There are so many groups in this area that are working to help children and this is a really good example of groups coming together saying let’s work together to solve a problem and make a really big impact,” Patricia Hallberg, Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts of Center and Western Massachusetts told 22News

According to the Center for Family Justice, one out of four girls and one in six boys will be sexually assaulted by the time they are 18 years old.

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