CAS, Cornwall Police join forces to educate community on child abuse prevention

October 15, 2013

Child Abuse Prevention Month

As Cornwall and SDG’s Community Dress Purple Day on Friday, October 18th draws closer, one must not lose sight of the purpose behind this popular event.

October is Child Abuse Prevention Month where the community is called on to protect children from abuse and neglect.  Education is a huge component of being able to do just this and early intervention is key. 

For this reason, the Children's Aid Society of SDG has partnered up with the Cornwall Community Police Service and the local school boards to roll out a child-friendly presentation on child abuse and how to keep safe. 

It helps define the different types of abuse, and touches on issues like secret keeping, who to tell, what to do if someone won’t listen and other child sensitive issues around abuse and neglect.  The Cornwall Community Police Service will deliver this presentation to all Cornwall schools focusing on Grades 3 to 6. 

In addition to this, Kimly Thivierge, Public Relations manager at the Children's Aid Society of SDG, has been very busy throughout the month (and year) delivering presentations on Duty to Report to professionals in the community to ensure young and old are being educated on child abuse prevention.

“This is a community service that the agency offers to professional groups in SDG in order to keep awareness levels current,” says Ms. Thivierge.  “There has been a great response from the community.  Now groups are calling us and requesting the presentation for their staff.”

According to Ms. Thivierge, this is a big change from a few years ago when this type of service was rarely requested.

Education is ongoing.  Knowledge is the first weapon against child abuse.  If you know what you are looking for, you will feel more confident in reporting.  But remember, if you are ever in doubt, call the Children's Aid Society of SDG and let the professionals decide what needs to be done.  As such, we would like to leave the public with some information on child abuse and how they can help keep a child safe:

What is abuse and neglect?
Abuse is against the law and occurs when a child is hurt intentionally, or when a parent or caregiver fails to protect a child in their care. Physical abuse and sexual abuse are clear examples of maltreatment, but so too is neglect – the failure to meet a child’s basic needs for food, clothing, shelter, sleep, medical attention, education and protection from harm.

Children can also be emotionally abused when their parent or caregiver attacks their emotional development and self-worth by constantly criticizing, teasing, bullying, rejecting or ignoring. For more information on this topic, please click here.

What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence is violent, abusive behaviour, which occurs within a child’s home environment and includes, but is not limited to partner violence. Domestic violence can have a profound effect on children and may result in or raise the risk of child abuse or neglect.

What are the signs of abuse and neglect?
Unexplained injuries, fear of a specific adult, difficulty trusting others or making friends, sudden changes in eating or sleeping patterns, poor hygiene, secrecy and inappropriate sexual behaviour may be signs of family problems and could indicate a child is being abused or neglected.

Remember you don’t need to be sure that a child is being abused or neglected – let your local Children’s Aid Society know what your concerns are and we will determine if a child is in danger. To learn more about the signs of abuse, please click here.

How to report abuse
If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, it’s your legal duty to report the situation to a Children’s Aid Society, even if you’ve already reported it on a previous occasion. For the child’s sake, don’t delay, call the Children’s Aid Society immediately. The phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

To learn more about your responsibility to report, visit www.cassdg.ca.

What we think parents or caregivers need to know

How to create a safe community
It is important to teach children their rights. When children are taught they are special and that they have the right to be safe, they are less likely to think abuse is their fault and more likely to report an offender.

How to discipline without hurting
Discipline is meant to teach children how to behave, be safe and get along with others. Physical punishment is detrimental in that it teaches children that hitting is okay and it causes them to be afraid. Physical punishment often occurs because a parent is angry and frustrated. This is particularly dangerous, however, as it is easy to lose control and cause serious injury.

Help is available
If you need help, ask for it. Nobody is perfect. Call your local Children’s Aid Society for more information about parenting and services. Visit www.cassdg.ca for more tips and information.

See it, hear it, report it! Break the silence, use your voice!

- This article was prepared and provided by the Children's Aid Society of SDG. For more information on CAS, please visit www.cassdg.ca

 

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