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April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and Some Considerations for Prom Season

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As noted by your Charleston lawyers in the Howell and Christmas, LLC South Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Concurrently, April is also National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The Dee Norton Lowcountry Children’s Center and Darkness to Light are doing their part to prevent child sexual abuse by holding a free training session to educate area residents on how to recognize and respond to incidents of abuse. The session is open to anyone (parents, coaches, camp counselors, etc.) and participants will become certified in Darkness to Light’s “Stewards of Children” prevention program, learning how to spot signs and symptoms of child abuse, as well as when and how to report discovered incidents of abuse.

A Post and Courier announcement of the training session notes that the event is, in part, a response to a recent editorial in which the paper called for more community training to help individuals recognize and respond to abuse. Also, the Charleston area has been plagued by a number of incidents of child pornography, criminal sexual conduct, and child sexual abuse, particularly the high-profile case against a former coach, counselor, and educator who has been accused of molesting at least 23 children in the Charleston area.

The event is to be held at Mt. Pleasant Presbyterian Church, 302 Hibben St., from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on April 28. The Post and Courier notes that space for the training session is limited and pre-registration is required at www.dnlcc.org.

Now that Spring is upon us, high school students (if they haven’t begun already) are gearing up for prom. It’s an exciting time for both guys and gals, but it certainly presents a set of dangers parents need be acutely aware. Just this past weekend an 18-year-old high school senior from Colleton County High crashed his 2001 Mitsubishi hours after leaving his prom. The single-vehicle accident ultimately took the young man’s life after he ran off the road, through a ditch, and into a tree, only two miles away from his house. The fatal car accident occurred while the youngster was traveling alone eastbound along South Carolina Highway 63 (a.k.a. Sniders Highway) near Islandton at about 4:30 a.m. Saturday morning. The report read by your Charleston, SC attorneys indicated that the teen had already been home and on his way elsewhere at the time of the crash. It was noted that the teen was wearing his seat belt.

Prom season presents an important time for parents to help their teenagers think about important safety issues, including, but not limited to alcohol consumption, drug use, all-night parties, and as we’ve just seen, driving. In the weeks leading up to the prom it’s a good idea to set aside some quality time to discuss these issues and go over all the details for the evening, such as whether there will be a post-prom party, who will be driving, create a backup plan just in case, and so on.

Also, the time at which the tragic incident mentioned above brings up an important part of the prom experience, curfew. Some parents choose to allow their teen to stay out later on prom night, adjusting normal curfew rules, but it’s important to set up plan where the teen checks in periodically so that parents know he/she is safe, as well as to alert parents if any previously made plans have changed.

No doubt it can be uncomfortable for both parent and teen to discuss things like drinking, taking drugs, sex, and unsupervised parties, but an open and honest dialogue can make the difference in preventing unfortunate serious accidents and injuries. In general, parents should let their teen know that they want them to have a great prom, but stress that they are available to help in anyway if the situation becomes risky, insecure, or dangerous.

Posted In: wrongful or accidental death