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Every summer, tens of millions of children across the country pack up their clothes and head off to summer camp. Other children attend day camp or week-long camps as a means exploring new interests, and providing short-term childcare support for busy parents. Most children return home from camp with wonderful memories and new friends. Tragically, some return home with devastating memories that will last a lifetime – memories of being sexually abused.

While there is no guarantee against child sexual abuse, parents should be vigilant in screening camps for policies and procedures that can minimize the risk of abuse. Such policies include mandatory criminal background checks, monitoring the behavior of older campers with their younger peers, and training for staff about reporting any suspected inappropriate sexual behavior.

Camps have become a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States, and the companies that own and operate camps have a duty to properly train and supervise their employees. There is no excuse for sexual abuse at camp. You should not delay in reaching out to the proper authorities if you suspect that your child has been molested or otherwise sexually abused.

If you, your child or a child you know is a victim of sexual abuse while at camp, or you suspect abuse, report it immediately to the police, take the child to the hospital, and make sure he feels safe and not at fault. Charges can be filed against the abuser, preventing the predator from sexually assaulting another child.