Help Us Protect Manitoba Children
HELP US PROTECT MANITOBA CHILDREN
No community is spared from individuals looking to harm children. Stories of children being abused by a coach, a teacher, a volunteer, or some other individual who has gained the trust of the family and accessed the child come from all provinces – and Manitoba is no exception. While we can’t be with our children every second of the day, we can do a lot more to ensure that when our kids are left in the care of others – that they are in the safest environment possible. We want to lead the charge to have our local kids’ organizations commit to the protection of children through the Commit to Kids program.
The harm caused by sexual abuse can have long-lasting impacts on a child. While organizations typically conduct criminal record and child abuse registry checks, the vast majority of offenders don’t have a criminal record – so much more needs to be done. If Manitoba’s schools, pools, community clubs, athletic organizations and other kid-based organizations are to be truly safe and nurturing places for kids to learn and grow - every effort must be made to ensure the environment they are in is a safe one. Rather than wait for something to happen in our own community, we should all pull together and take action. What more can be done at these organizations beyond the criminal record check? The Commit to Kids Program is what can be done!
The Canadian Centre for Child Protection has created the Commit to Kids program (visit www.commit2kids.ca), which is an amazing, easy-to-use, step-by-step plan to help prevent sexual abuse from happening within organizations that care for kids. While the mass majority of people who work with children would never dream of harming a child, there are a very small few who will when given the opportunity. Child-serving organizations – schools, sports teams, after-school programs and clubs – are all vulnerable to attracting employees and volunteers who may be looking to gain access to children for the purpose of exploiting them. We are all responsible for ensuring that this doesn’t happen. We can do this by advocating for our kids, ensuring boundaries are in place and by insisting that those we trust with our children’s safety when we’re not there are committed to the same standards.
What will Commit to Kids do for our local organizations? It will help them to:
• evaluate risks that exist;
• teach employees/volunteers the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behaviour;
• establish clear boundaries between employees/volunteers and children, including interactions via technology;
• ensure that allegations of sexual abuse are handled in a sensitive, timely and effective manner;
• understand their legal obligations to report child sexual abuse;
• provide employees/volunteers with specific strategies on how to prevent abuse;
• prevent child sexual abuse through increased awareness and education; and,
• ensure the highest standard of practice when working with children.
If we can get enough people committed to this idea, we will be able to provide at least 1500 of these valuable Commit to Kids programs to kids’ organizations right across Manitoba: in our cities, our small towns and in our Northern communities. No matter where kids live – they deserve to be safe, and the Commit to Kids program is a great way to ensure they are safe when they’re out having fun, being kids while in the care of others.
We are confident that this program will help to protect our most valuable commodity – our children. We hope to count on your support. Please help us Commit to Kids in Manitoba.