Politics & Government

Attorney General Beshear and first lady Bevin team up to fight child sexual abuse

Attorney General Andy Beshear and first lady Glenna Bevin unveil statewide training programs to fight child abuse.
Attorney General Andy Beshear and first lady Glenna Bevin unveil statewide training programs to fight child abuse. jbrammer@herald-leader.com

Although they are on different political sides, first lady Glenna Bevin and Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear announced Tuesday a statewide training program aimed at protecting Kentucky’s children from sexual abuse.

Beshear, a Democrat, and the wife of Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican, are promoting nearly 20 training sessions to help law enforcement, prosecutors, social workers, community advocates, religious affiliates, parents and educators in keeping children safe. They will focus on how sexual predators try to approach children. An estimated one in 10 children will be sexually abused by the time they are 18.

“In Kentucky, it’s everyone’s legal duty and moral responsibility to protect children from abuse,” Beshear said in a news conference at a the Capitol. “As attorney general, I’m proud to lead this important effort with the first lady and all our leaders, advocates, prosecutors and law enforcement agencies to train and communicate ways we can prevent child abuse in every corner of the state.”

He said sexually abused children carry scars for life, often affecting their education and careers. Many of these children are abused by people they love, he said.

Glenna Bevin didn’t speak at the news conference, but she has said that improving the lives of Kentucky’s children will be her priority.

One of the new training programs, which will be free, is titled “What Child Sex Offenders Can Teach You.” It was developed by the Attorney General’s Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Prevention Board and the Office of Victims Advocacy, along with the Department of Criminal Justice Training

Other program partners include the Department for Behavioral Health Development and Intellectual Disabilities, and the Kentucky Association of Child Advocacy Centers.

The training will be coordinated by KACAC and will be offered at each of Kentucky’s 15 Area Development Districts this year.

The training curriculum features material from Cory Jewell Jensen, a nationally recognized advocate for children.

The training focuses on protecting children from molester selection, engagement and seduction, and it will include advice that sex offenders have shared with Jensen over her 30-year career.

“Approximately one out of every 214 males in Kentucky is a registered sex offender,” Jensen said in a news release. “Considering only five to 13 percent of victims even disclose their abuse, we have to do a better job of educating professionals and the public alike. This project is going to put Kentucky on the map in terms of child safety, community policing and crime-prevention initiatives.”

In partnership with Jensen, Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky, and the child centers’ board, which approved financial support through the Child Victims’ Trust Fund, two additional programs are being offered: “Protecting our Children: Advice from Child Molesters” and “Using Technology to Keep Children Safe from Sexual Abuse and Exploitation.”

The technology training is open to everyone. Each person who completes the training will receive an Internet safety toolkit, which provides prevention activities for children and families.

More information on these training programs is at http://1.usa.gov/1KaoOzG.

Jack Brammer: (502) 227-1198, @BGPolitics