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Tips on Talking to Kids About Brooke - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Tips on Talking to Kids About Brooke

Brooke Bennett Brooke Bennett
Karen Tronsgard-Scott Karen Tronsgard-Scott

Burlington, Vermont - July 3, 2008

Wednesday night the community came together to say goodbye to Brooke Bennett.

"First of all, I want to say, Brooke Marie, I love you so much," said her mother, Cassandra Gagnon.

It's a tragedy that's hard to fathom -- and even more difficult to process.

"I have a lot of questions. I have a lot of whys," said parent, Kim Abbot.

"It's like, I can't even like feel anything right now," said Brooke's friend, Jacqulyn Lumbra.

Children are confronting a lesson they should never have to learn-- their parents forced to explain what happened and why.

"It's really difficult to process and try to explain to her what's going on too. She's doing good," said Abbot.

Karen Tronsgard-Scott is the executive director of the Vermont Network against domestic and sexual violence.

She says a conversation about sexual violence is never easy.

"I wish I could give an answer that would create a sense of healing or safety, but I think we have to deal with the fact that that this is a scary situation and our kids are going to have to deal with that fact."

But she says it's a discussion that parents shouldn't avoid having.

"If my child lived in Randolph right now, I would want them to know they are mostly safe and that they're cared for by loving parents," said Tronsgard-Scott.

99 percent of all sexual predators know their victims and 25 percent are actually family members.

Tronsgard-Scott says parents need to learn to spot sexual predators. She says parents should be leery of anyone who wants to be good friends with their child, especially someone who wants to take them places alone.

"Most sexual violence is happening in our homes, in our communities on a day to day basis in a very quiet, covert way," Tronsgard-Scott explained.

She says the key to stopping sexual violence is also better treatment for sex offenders, long-term, specific treatment that last years-- not months.

"It does work. It has some pretty good outcomes."

Keagan Harsha - WCAX News

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