Experts speak out on the signs of child exploitation


A well-known volleyball trainer was recently arrested on suspicion of sexually exploiting a 16-year-old girl. The incident report shows that the crimes date back to February of 2017. The trainer recently posted bond and was released from the Sedgwick County Jail this weekend. 

“We’ve all worked with him for a few years so to hear something like that is shocking, said Jayla Sporleder, who attended private lessons for three years. “I’m 17 so I’m close in age to that girl.” 

When parents hear news of an alleged sex crime, it can often lead them to ask how they can protect their own child and what the warning signs may be. The Child Advocacy Center of Sedgwick County tells KSN that they deal with about 2000 cases a year.

KSN spoke with the center’s executive director, Diana Schunn, and she says who says knowing how to identify that your child is a victim can make all the difference in their recovery. 

The largest majority of children are abused by someone that they know,” Diana Schunn. “So that adds a different level of involvement in many situations because it is very personal and it adds in different elements of breaking down emotional barriers that the child needs to process.” 

Schunn adds that these emotional barriers can also serve as warning signs that your child needs help. 

“Warning signs can include changes in behavior, more aggressive, maybe they’re sneaking around or staying away from the home more often then they used to,” explained Schunn. “Also, anger or sleeping all the time.” 

Schunn told KSN that the way a child responds to abuse depends on the abuser and how long it’s been going on. 

“That adds another element of closeness with the family. Someone who should be protecting you and taking care of you and that’s not the case,” she said. 

The Child Advocacy Center has seen a slow increase in the number of cases in Sedgwick County, but Schunn says that may be because more people are speaking out about the abuse. 

“We have just continued to become more and more aware of it,” said Schunn. “Awareness is a good thing. I’d much rather have he abuse come to the light then to have children carry that abuse with them as a secret.”

For more information on the Child Advocacy Center or resources, click here

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