Hope's PlaceArticle from The Daily Independent

ASHLAND, KY — Mark Cole is passionate about his work at Hope’s Place Children’s Advocacy Center.

Cole, the prevention educator at the center, has a background in business and marketing, not counseling or sexual abuse investigation. But after taking the free, two-hour training at Hope’s Place, he wanted to give back to his community.

Now, he’s the main trainer at the center and uses his education and experience to educate the public on preventing child sexual abuse.

 “I am not Miss America, out to save the world, I just want to make an impact in our community and bring awareness that child sexual abuse is out there and with the right training, can be prevented,” Cole, who trained five area residents last week to recognize the signs of abuse, said. The center has trained approximately 725 in the community this year.

Sexual abuse is the most prevalent health issue facing children younger than 18. Statistically, one in 10 children will be sexually abused, compared to one in 330 children being diagnosed with cancer and one in 25 children being diagnosed with diabetes.

Statistically, more than 90 percent of child sexual abusers are known to the child; 30 percent are family and 60 percent are someone the family trusts.

Hope’s Place exists to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to the reality of child sexual abuse. The center serves a five-county area in Kentucky, including Boyd, Greenup, Elliott, Carter and Lawrence. Hope’s Place actively seeks to reduce the occurrence of sexual abuse and awareness through education.

The training plan, “Darkness to Light — Stewards of Children” takes the class through five steps to protecting children: learning the facts, minimizing opportunity, talking about it, recognizing the signs and reacting responsibly.

 The training teaches to not only recognize the signs of sexual abuse, which sometimes are thought to be just bad behavior, but how to better protect children in one-on-one situations with adults. As a parent, it teaches the importance of using the correct terminology for body parts so if a child is trying to tell about their abuse, other adults will know what they are referring to.

Community support is vital in helping to overcome child sexual abuse, Cole said. The training is available to anyone, including parents, teachers, clergy, coaches, foster care workers, child care workers and social workers.

For more information or to schedule a training, call Hope’s Place at (606) 325-4737, visit  hopesplace.org or email Cole at mark@hopesplace.org.


If you or someone you care about was sexually abused and you would like advice from an attorney about the rights and options for victims of child sexual abuse, please contact Crew Janci LLP today for a free, confidential consultation at 1-888-407-0224 or by using our private online form.  We will treat you with discretion and respect.

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Peter Janci

About Peter Janci

Peter has represented more than one hundred victims of sexual abuse over nearly a decade.  ...