I want you to stop being afraid of child abuse.
I know that sounds controversial, contradictory and confusing. Aren’t we supposed to be afraid?
Yes and no. Statistics show that abuse of children is rampant and it is cause for huge concern. Abuse and neglect happen in all countries, cultures and socio-economic groups. One of the important messages that safeguarding experts promote is that “abuse can happen here”. We know that a sex abuse scandal in our community not only damages children forever but can ruin a school or organization that is doing so much good in other areas. So shouldn’t we be afraid?
While fear sometimes makes us spring into action, it can make us feel paralysed, overwhelmed and helpless. Fear can cause us to approach child protection as something we have to do instead of something we want to do. Fear promotes defensiveness and self-protection. By using fear to fight child abuse we are perpetuating the very emotional state that we are trying to eliminate.
Instead of feeling fear, I want you to feel empowered, knowledgable and confident about preventing child abuse. I want you to show up for work at your schools, sports programs, clubs knowing that you have policies in place to prevent abuse, training to identify abuse and personnel that are interacting with children in a healthy, safe way. And if for some reason, abuse still occurs, I want you to know how to help children report it and heal from it as best possible.
I have extensive experience working in international schools to provide child protection training, policy review and support to families impacted by abuse. Contact me to arrange a consultation for your school or organization.