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Darkness to Light was founded by Anne Lee and a group of community activists in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2000. At this time, most child sexual abuse prevention programming focused on teaching children to identify and deflect the sexual advances of an adult. These activists felt that the responsibility for the prevention of child sexual abuse should be placed on the shoulders of adults, not children.
The first component of Darkness to Light’s programming is a national public awareness campaign. It is intended to drive viewers to seek out information, education, and resources on the Darkness to Light website. Darkness to Light TV PSA’s run on CNN, Lifetime and USA networks. Full-page print PSAs have appeared repeatedly in eleven of Time Inc.’s national magazines, including People, Time, Fortune and Latino. Darkness to Light’s web banner PSAs run on AOL, Oxygen, and CNN websites.
The second component of Darkness to Light’s programming is national education. Darkness to Light offers educational products and programs to parents, professionals, and other adults including "7 Steps to Preventing Child Sexual Abuse," a booklet for parents and others who interact with children. Over 1,000,000 copies of this highly-acclaimed booklet have been sold or distributed nationally since 2002, and the booklet has been translated into several languages for international distribution.
A major focus of Darkness to Light’s educational programming has been child sexual abuse prevention training for youth-serving organizations. Many youth-serving organizations have openly acknowledged that their employees and volunteers are not adequately trained to prevent, recognize, and respond to child sexual abuse. They have admitted that they do not have policies and procedures that effectively eliminate the possibility of child sexual abuse within their organizations. They seek an effective, inexpensive, easy-to-implement child sexual abuse training and policies program.
Darkness to Light has developed and is implementing innovative, nationally-available online and instructor-led certification training program for youth-serving professionals and volunteers, accompanied by online programs for organizational leadership.
Darkness to Light has been featured in the Department of Health and Human Services “Emerging Practices in the Prevention of Child Abuse” report and the “Preventing Child Sexual Abuse” Handbook published by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.