Jennifer Flippo, a forensic interviewer for Gingerbread House, spoke at the Minden Lions Club meeting Thursday.
Flippo explained that The Gingerbread House, located in Shreveport, a Children’s Advocacy Center is a non-profit organization that works with other agencies to service child victims of abuse. The mission of the Gingerbread House, which was formed in 1998, is to lessen the trauma experienced by child victims of sexual and/or severe physical abuse.
The Gingerbread House provides a free, safe and friendly environment for children during the different phases of an abuse investigation, as well as counseling should it be necessary.
Flippo went on to talk about the importance of educating children on how to address abuse, as well as how adults should respond when a child confides in them.
“It’s important to establish boundaries for children,” Flippo said. “Letting children know that their body belongs to them and that no one has the right to touch them in a way that makes them uncomfortable.”
No – Go – Tell is the system Flippo recommends for educating children; first, say words that mean no. Second, get away from the situation if possible and third, tell a trustworthy adult.
The way an adult reacts when a child confides in them is important. “Remember to listen, remain calm, and let the child know that it is not their fault.” Flippo said.
Providing startling statistics that one in ten children will be victims of sexual abuse in some form by their 18th birthday, Flippo encouraged attendees to spread awareness of what to do should child abuse be suspected.
More information on the Gingerbread House can be found at www.ginerbreadhousecac.org or by calling 318-674-2900.