The National Children’s Advocacy Center recently released a position paper about the declining rates of child sexual abuse throughout the country.
In Omaha though, Project Harmony, an organization that exists to reach and support children, is seeing an increase in the number of kids they’re serving.
Gene Klein, Executive Director for Project Harmony, says the data 20 years ago showed 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 7 boys would be sexually abused before the age of 18.
Those numbers have changed and today’s data indicates 1 in 10 girls and 1 in 10 boys would be sexually abused before turning 18.
Klein calls that a positive step and explains the reason the numbers are on the rise in metro Omaha is because more kids are reporting the abuse.
"We are not seeing (out in the community) more child sexual abuse. We think the reporting is much stronger than it was a decade or two ago. And that families are reporting it earlier in the process or that schools are reporting it earlier in the process once they identify a potential victim. And so we are able to get to those kids and families much sooner than we did 10-15 years ago.”
Klein says 20 years ago they saw maybe 300-400 kids a year and today it’s closer to 2500. He says the majority of those children are disclosing some form of sexual abuse.
Project Harmony works to provide a child friendly environment in which specially-trained professionals work together to assess, investigate and resolve child abuse cases.
For more information, the website is ProjectHarmony.com.