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Posts Tagged ‘My Body Belongs To Me’

Pinwheels Call Attention to Child Abuse, Ways to Identify and Prevent It!

April 1, 2012 Comments off

Many communities “plant pinwheel gardens” each April of colorful pinwheels spinning in the wind which represents a child living in the community who was abused last year.

April is National Child Abuse Awareness Month and many local organizations offer tips on preventing abuse.

Congress first declared April as National Child Abuse Awareness Month, a time designated each year to raise awareness about child abuse and neglect, in 1983, and each year the president issues a proclamation calling on Americans to use the month to help prevent child abuse.

The first step in helping abused children is learning to recognize the symptoms of child abuse.  Although child abuse is divided into four types – physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse and emotional maltreatment – the types are more typically found in combination than alone.  A physically abused child for example is often emotionally maltreated as well, and a sexually abused child may be also neglected.  Any child at any age may experience any of the types of child abuse.

Child abuse leaves more than just bruises.  Long after children have recovered from the physical results of any type of abuse, abused children suffer from emotional and psychological trauma that can last the rest of their lives.

Unfortunately, many bystanders witness child abuse and do nothing about it. Neighbors and friends may hear or even see child abuse happening, but don’t want to intrude or interfere with “the rights” of the parents.  Such inaction can mean years of pain and heartbreak for young children who are unable to get out of a horrific situation.

Abused children need your intervention.  In their helplessness, they must rely on capable adults who are willing to take a stand and get them out of an abusive environment.  By being aware of child abuse, and helping to educate the people you know, you can help prevent child abuse in your community.

Identifying Child Abuse

While it is impossible to determine the presence of abuse or neglect by behavior, the following signs may signal the presence of child abuse or neglect:

The Child:

  • Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance
  • Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parent’s attention
  • Has learning problems or difficulty concentrating that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes
  • Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen
  • Lacks adult supervision•Is overly compliant, passive or withdrawn
  • Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home

The Parent:

  • Shows little concern for the child
  • Denies the existence of, or blames the child for the child’s problems in school or at home
  • Asks teachers or other caretakers to use harsh physical discipline if the child misbehaves
  • Sees the child as entirely bad, worthless, or burdensome
  • Demands a level of physical or academic performance the child cannot achieve
  • Looks primarily to the child for care, attention, and satisfaction of emotional needs

The Parent and the Child:

  • Rarely touch or look at each other
  • Consider their relationship entirely negative
  • State that they do not like each other

Preventing Child Abuse

Learn about child abuse.  Educate yourself and keep these key facts in mind:

  • Child abusers can be any age, any gender and any race.  They can be from any economic class, and have any level of education.
  • Children are more likely to be abused by their own parents than by a stranger.
  • Rarely does an incident of child abuse happen in isolation.  When a child is abused once, it is likely to happen again.
  • Educate your neighbors and friends about child abuse.

Stop child abuse when you see it.  If you have trouble identifying the difference between child abuse and acceptable forms of discipline, learn the Federal and State laws and find resources that distinguish between discipline and abuse.  Do not hesitate to contact the National Child Abuse Hotline (1-800-4-A-Child).  During your anonymous call, their counselors can help you evaluate the situation and help you make a child abuse report to the proper authorities.  If you are nervous about making a report, they will even stay on the line during a 3-way call to offer you support.  If a child is in life-threatening danger, call 911 immediately.

It’s time that people take a stand against child abuse.  Your simple actions will help prevent child abuse and give abused children hope for a brighter future.

Take care and STAY SAFE!

YMCA’s Take Child Protection Very Seriously

November 28, 2011 Comments off

YMCAs take child protection very seriously.  Their extensive policies and attention to safety regarding every program and service make them a leader in “state of the art” child protection policy.  They also know that this alone does not keep children safe in their communities.  They instead recognize the need for leadership at every level to be involved and engaged in protecting children from sexual abuse.  With the health and well being of children and families at the heart of their mission and a long history of tackling tough community issues, Y’s across the country are stepping up to convene leaders and engage the entire community in prevention.

Teaming up to support these local Y efforts, D2L and The Redwoods Group Foundation are providing tools, resources and funding assistance to help YMCAs operationalize wide spread community awareness and education.  Our vision is that Ys, serving as the natural conveners, bring together community leaders, other local child-serving organizations, and policy makers as partners in prevention.  This exciting collaboration is empowering communities with a strategy and a model for creating and sustaining positive change in the protection of children from child sexual abuse.

YMCAs are helping lead a national effort to build community initiatives that increase awareness of the problem of child sexual abuse and bring prevention to the local level.  A key to their success with such initiatives is their ability to bring together the right people and resources to facilitate change in communities nationwide.  Locally, they do this every day generating solutions to challenges facing their communities.

While community prevention initiatives across the country are having an impact, Y’s have the ability to exponentially increase participation in the effort.  Serving over 9 million children and 12 million adults in 10,000 communities they can be the most effective and efficient pathway to reducing child sexual abuse.  In addition, one of the Y’s focus area is social responsibility, and their emphasis on youth development makes them a natural partner to address this issue.  As former Y CEO, Ralph Yohe stated, “Y’s are uniquely position to take a leadership role in prevention as we are often at the heart of a community, we have a long history of tackling community issues, and bottom line, the protection and well being of children is part of our mission.”

Thanks to the impact YMCAs have on kids, families and communities—and the sheer number of communities they serve—this “Y movement” will lead the way in engaging the largest group of citizens yet in child protection!

YMCA Background

In early 2009, The Redwoods Group, a commercial specialty insurance group based in NC and one of the largest insurers for YMCAs, contacted Darkness to Light to explore synergies between the two organizations.  Redwoods felt that they could provide benefit to their clients by adding Stewards of Children prevention curriculum to their training offerings, believing that the empowering and emotional elements of the program would augment the policy and procedure training components that were also necessary.

Kevin Trapani, founder and CEO of Redwoods, had a bigger vision.  The Redwoods Group is a privately‐held, Certified B Corps that takes their responsibility for the safety of children at Y’s across the country very seriously.  Not only that, social responsibility is at the core of everything Redwoods believes so it wasn’t enough to just address child safety within the 4 walls of a Y.

A collaboration begins…In 2010, the social enterprise’s Foundation made a commitment to facilitate community‐based child sexual abuse prevention through YMCA’sOver the past three years, the Redwoods Group Foundation has dedicated significant time, energy, and financial capitol to protect children from the trauma of sexual abuse. Collaborating with Darkness to Light, a Stewards of Children “seed fund” was created to assist YMCAs in starting community initiatives.  The Foundation has two staff members working to bring YMCAs together to propel the effort to scale.  Their goal is to help YMCA’s engage community partners in child sexual abuse prevention and intervention.  Ultimately, they hope the effort will be expanded to all YMCAs.

Via d2l

Anny is a Steward’s of Children Authorized Facilitator and Prevention Specialist who trains adults to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse through Darkness to Light’s certification programs.  Please contact Anny to bring Prevent Now! community meetings your area and to arrange Steward’s of Children trainings.  You may contact her via email, anny@annyjacoby.com or 919-225-1421.

Take care and STAY SAFE!

What Can We Learn From Penn State?

November 27, 2011 Comments off
It’s unfortunate that it takes national headlines to get people talking about a problem that is all too prevalent in our society but we can take advantage of this opportunity to shine the light on the issue of child sexual abuse and recognize that we all have a responsibility to protect children.
  • We’ve learned that this issue is not about big universities, celebrity, or the Catholic Church.  It’s not about reputations, or legacies or any one institution.  This issue is about children.
  • We’ve learned that we have to step into the reality that there are people in our midst that would rob children of their innocence and they are people we know and trust.  They will go out of their way to appear above reproach and they will infiltrate our families and organizations where they can have easy access to children.
  • We’ve learned that it takes tremendous courage for children and adults that have been abused to come forward.  We must support and honor this courage and work together to ensure their story is not handed down to other innocent children.
  • We’ve learned that child safety is the job of an adult.  Teaching children how to keep themselves safe from abuse is important, but adults bear the burden of stepping up and speaking out when something doesn’t look or feel right with respect to the wellbeing of a child.  We’ve learned that it may or may not be our legal responsibility as mandated reporters depending on where we live but morally it is the right thing to do.  If you see something or suspect abuse, call the police.
  • We’ve learned that the ramifications of not acting responsibly are clear.  More abuse occurs, more children are harmed, fewer children get the help they so deserve.  To be silent bystanders is to be complicit in its occurrance and wake. To intervene is to ensure that a child is treated and supported, that they are healed and better protected from potential lifelong hardships of trauma.
  • We’ve learned that child sexual abuse is preventable.  We can learn the facts, we can acknowledge the reality, we can talk to others adults, we can ensure youth serving organizations have comprehensive child protection policy, and we can talk to our children.  Awareness and education is the answer.
  • The fight against child abuse cannot be the job of one agency; it has to be a collaborative effort.  It will take all of us to change culture–to one where engaged adults offer no place for a perpetrator to commit their heinous acts and no access to children.
  • We can be stuck in the shock and horror of what happened at Penn State staying focused on who knew what and when or we can pledge right now to stay focused on the things we can do today that better protect children.  Let Penn State serve as a wake-up call.  Will we stay vigilant or will we again become complacent when the smoke clears?

Ways to Get Involved

Via d2l.org

Anny is a Steward’s of Children Authorized Facilitator and Prevention Specialist who trains adults to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse through Darkness to Light’s certification programs.  Please contact Anny to bring Prevent Now! community meetings your area and to arrange Steward’s of Children trainings.  You may contact her via email, anny@annyjacoby.com or 919-225-1421.

Take care and stay safe.

Child Sexual Abuse Community Awareness Meetings Being Planned…

November 19, 2011 Comments off

The Darkness to Light’s child sexual abuse program(s) are trainings across the United States.

Have you taken a stance again CSA?  If not, why not?  Call or email me to plan Darkness to Light’s Child Sexual Abuse Community Meetings, Prevent Now! (45 mins) and/or “Stewards of Children”, two-and-a-half training sessions for adults.  Darkness to Lights program seeks “to empower adults through awarness and educational programs to PREVENT, RECOGNIZE AND REACT RESPONSIBLY to childhood sexual abuse. 

“The only public good thing that came out of the horrible Penn State situation is it’s brough major attention to Child Sexual Abuse.”  Take a stance, NOW!

Take care and STAY SAFE!