If we can improve the knowledge, self-confidence, and assertiveness skills of children, then they will be safer because they will be better able to recognize danger and resist potential offenders. This should deter many offenders who look for and prey on vulnerable children. Children will know what trusted adults to seek out to assist them, because everyone’s awareness will have been raised through proper training.
Our children are gifts from God, meant to be cherished and protected by the adults who have been entrusted with their care. Yet, children are the most victimized segment of our society. Sadly, 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually exploited before their 18th birthday. Many experts suggest that child sexual victimization is the most under-reported crime in the country. Children seek approval and rely on adults they know and trust, which makes them vulnerable. Vulnerable children can be exploited through the need for love and affection, to belong or fit in, low self-esteem, physical or psychological needs or problems at home. ANY child can become vulnerable given the right circumstances. Although most parents can easily talk to their children about “stranger danger”, research shows most have difficulty preparing their children about known potential offenders.
The good news is that you can take steps to reduce the risk of child sexual abuse by raising awareness and educating everyone in your congregation on this important topic. Putting Children First can provide you with a faith based program which will enhance a child’s self-awareness, empowerment and relationship with God. It will also dispel myths and raise awareness among the adult members in your community to raise an extra layer of protection to your youth members.
Our child safety program entails:
• Laying a safety empowerment foundation to build upon.
• Teaching children to recognize and trust their instincts.
• Age and grade appropriate material.
• Helping parents reinforce or initiate family safety discussions.
• Supporting a parent’s need to promote a healthy and trusting development of children before exploitation has the chance to happen.
• Raising the awareness of all adult members of your congregation to better enhance your safety environment.
Parents and responsible adults hold the KEY to a child’s safety. While there are never any guarantees, parents must do what they can to decrease the risk of potential child sexual abuse. Prevention and early intervention are crucial.
More importantly, by offering a professional, comprehensive program, parishioners will know your congregation is dedicated to protecting and educating its most vulnerable members - OUR YOUTH!
Regardless of religious affliation, Putting Children First will work with you to present a program to meet the specific needs of your congregation.