Training held in Rapid City about recognizing child sexual abuse - KOTA Territory News

Training held in Rapid City about recognizing child sexual abuse


After an overwhelming response from concerned parents regarding a recently released sex offender, the Pennington County Sheriff's office and the Child Advocacy Center of the Black Hills held a training.

parents were worried when a sex offender, Michael Pigney, moved in near Rapid Valley Elementary school, and that's what sparked the training. Experts say child sexual abuse usually happens with someone the child already knows.

Parents and bikers pack a training session on recognizing and responding to sexual abuse.

"Our purpose is to empower children to not be afraid of the world in which they live. Everything that we can do for training, for information and to let this community see we are out there. That we can help children," said Greg Harbets, of Black Hills Bikers Against Child Abuse.

Hollie Strand, a forensic interviewer with Child Advocacy Center of the Black Hills, says people have a different impression regarding child abuse than what is actually happening.

"There are also those misconceptions that somehow these are people that are driving around the street walking around neighborhoods or plucking kids out of yards or out of the school or are finding them at different locations than actually in their home," said Strand.

Parents talk to their kids about stranger danger, but Strand says abuse rarely comes from strangers.

"I've interviewed over 980 children and I've talked to six that are touched by strangers. Our number one offender is bio dad followed by a friend of the family," said Strand.

Strand told the audience ways to talk to children about dangerous situations. She also says communication between parent and child is key.

"It's really about creating an environment where we encourage our children to talk to us about anything whether that be childhood sexual abuse, bullying, drugs and alcohol, sexting, anything," said Strand.

Harbets says trainings like this one are good of the community.

"The more knowledge is power and the more we learn from professional people like Hollie, Hollie has some good classes, the better off the community will be," said Harbets.

The next training session will be April 14th at 6 pm at Corral Drive Elementary.

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