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Survey On Child Sexual Abuse Shows Misconceptions About The Issue

The results of a survey on how people in the Rochester area perceive child sexual abuse has just been released. And the organizations behind the survey say it shows there's a lot of work to be done in terms of education.

For one thing, the survey done by the Ad Council of Rochester, shows that the level of people in this area who feel that child sex abuse is common is 29 percent. But when those same people are asked about how common the abuse is in neighborhoods like their own, that drops to 15 percent.

Mary Whittier, who heads up the Bivona Child Advocacy Center, says that the survey goes against the reality: which is that child sex abuse does not discriminate by income, education level or neighborhood.

"And that's a big part of what Bivona and the Ad Council are doing together, is creating a lot more awareness and really reaching out and doing some more education ."

The survey also shows that many people will not make a report about suspected child abuse  unless they feel like they've got enough evidence and proof, when Whittier says the  reality is that people just need to have a suspicion, and then they can contact law enforcement, a protective hotline, or the Bivona Advocacy Center.

The Ad Council and Bivona are using this survey as a springboard to develop an educational campaign about child sexual abuse.

The Bivona Child Advocacy Center holds its annual summit on child abuse on April 22 and 23 at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.