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YMCA of Greater Brandywine (YGBW) Encourages Parents to Have the Uncomfortable Conversation to Protect Children from Child Abuse

YMCA of Greater Brandywine (YGBW) Encourages Parents to Have the Uncomfortable Conversation to Protect Children from Child Abuse


YMCA of Greater Brandywine (YGBW) Encourages Parents to Have the Uncomfortable Conversation to Protect Children from Child Abuse

YGBW Joins Five Days of Action from April 15 – 19 to Prevent Child Abuse

(West Chester, PA) – April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and the YMCA of Greater Brandywine (YGBW) is taking steps to educate parents and caregivers, by participating in the Five Days of Action campaign. Five Days of Action is a weeklong campaign to raise awareness and inspire adults to protect children from sexual abuse. It takes place from April 15-19, 2024.

Nearly 25% of girls and 5% of boys in the United States reported sexual abuse, according to data provided by Praesdium and the Centers for Disease Control. Sadly, the number of children in the US who have experienced abuse is likely even higher because 60-80% of victims will not disclose their abuse.

To reduce these rates, YGBW recommends a common and accessible tool - talking. Talking about sexual abuse is key to making children feel comfortable enough to report it – and can help prevent it from happening.

Addressing the Uncomfortable Topic
Because talking about sexual abuse can be uncomfortable for caregivers, the Y recommends a resource called 
Hot Chocolate Talks.

Hot Chocolate Talks outlines facts for caregivers and provides tips, tools and talking points to guide the conversation. Talking points are provided by age range, helping to ensure that the conversation is age-appropriate for children.

“As an educator at the Y, I’ve benefited from child abuse prevention training and know that we all have a role to play in keeping children safe in our community,” shares Claudia Aust, Senior Association Director of Youth Development for YGBW.

“In addition to being an educator, I’m also a parent,” she continues. “I understand how uncomfortable these conversations can feel – but they don’t have to be. The resources provided by Hot Chocolate Talks make the conversation easier to start – and more likely to stick with your child.”

Tips for Talking about Sexual Abuse

To help parents and guardians feel more comfortable talking about sexual abuse, YGBW shares helpful tips.

  • Share short bits of information instead of having one long discussion
  • Stress that no one should touch your body without your permission
  • Encourage your child to walk away from any situation that makes them feel uncomfortable or unsafe
  • Discourage keeping secrets – even with known adults
  • Reassure that your child can confide in you and that you will never be angry
  • Know the facts – 90% of children know their abuser and 36% of cases are peer-to-peer
  • Visit Hot Chocolate Talks for more tips and information


Five Days of Action | Know. See. Respond.

YGBW’s awareness-raising efforts are part of the national Five Days of Action campaign, implemented by YMCAs across the country. Between April 15 and 19 YGBW will share tips on social media to help the community know, see and respond to signs of abuse.

YGBW is committed to youth development, serving more than 26,000 children through membership, youth programs, childcare, camp and more. Because children are often in Y facilities, all staff members are trained each year to learn how to identify and respond to a child who may report child abuse – and how to prevent opportunities for abuse to occur.

Child abuse prevention is top of mind for YGBW staff every day – and they want the community to know that we all have a role to play in prevention. Not only should caregivers have an age-appropriate conversation with their children about sexual abuse but they should also know how to engage with Y staff in the community.

It is against YGBW policy for staff to engage one on one with children – both inside the Y and out in the community. That means, no hiring Y staff as babysitters and no engaging with Y staff on social media. 

Parents and guardians are encouraged to visit to learn more about Five Days of Action and how they can play a role in keeping children safe.

Learn More About Child Safety at the Y:
About Five Days of Action at the Y:
Visit Hot Chocolate Talks:



About the YMCA of Greater Brandywine   

The YMCA of Greater Brandywine (YGBW), an association of nine YMCAs and Program Centers serving Chester County, is a leading non-profit organization committed to building community. We strive to nurture the potential of every child, promote healthy living and foster social responsibility through life-changing programs for all. YGBW raises funds to provide financial assistance to those unable to pay the standard rates. In 2023, $2.2 million was provided to more than 11,000 individuals to ensure they had access to childcare, summer camp, programs and memberships at YGBW. Nearly 80,000 people are members of YGBW. To learn more, visit  


Photo Caption: YGBW teacher engages a group of children in STEM activities, demonstrating the Rule of Three, which ensures that staff are never left one-on-one with a single child, thus reducing the likelihood of abuse.

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