ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Members of Rockford’s faith community learned how they can support young survivors of domestic and sexual violence on Thursday.

The Rockford Family Peace Center, at 315 N Main Street, hosted the training session, giving lessons on how clergy can spot the warning signs of abuse, and how to handle accusations when children come forward.

Therapist Jimmie Gelter, with Rockford Sexual Assault Counseling, said faith leaders are often trusted by the most vulnerable.

“It’s really important that all the leaders in our community, whether it’s through the school system, the judicial system, faith leaders, anyone who has any access to kids in our community, know the proper ways to handle, what to look for and then how to handle disclosures,” Gelter said. “[It] is really important for the healing process.”

In the United States, one out of every four girls and one out of every six boys will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18, according to the Family Peace Center.

If you are a witness or a survivor of domestic or sexual violence, visit our Stateline Strong page for available resources.