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  • Jun9Wed

    215+ - We can do something!

    June 9, 2021
    By Melodie Bissell 

    We have been asked ...
    “What is the minimum we have to do?”
    “Don’t you think you are going over the top?”
    “Isn’t this just a money grab?”
    “Does it matter that we know everyone in our organization?”
    “When is all this going to stop?”
    “Do we have to do this?”
    “Is this the law?”
    “Doesn’t this only happen in urban settings?”
    “Isn’t this just about liability?”
    “But does the insurance company require this?”
    “This doesn’t happen in faith organizations, does it?”
    “Aren’t we Canada the good?”

    At which time we have continued to provide you training on the ...
    5 categories of abuse
    4 principles for reducing the risk
    10 tips for screening
    8 ideas for safeguarding
    8 guidelines for mitigating the risk of injury, harm, and abuse
    18 components of a strong policy and procedure handbook
    12 common gaps found in policy reviews
    5 steps to achieving a high standard of protection

    We have retold the lived experiences of many victim-survivors ...
    Rachael
    Sheldon
    Theo
    Ryan
    Faith
    David
    Jenna
    Andrea
    Carol
    Dianne

    For almost three decades we continue to say ...
    “We must do better!”
    “We must continue to raise the bar on abuse prevention and
    protection!”
    “We must protect our children!”
    “Children matter!”

    Today, I can give you 215 more reasons why we ...
    must do better,
    must learn from the past,
    are not done,
    need to do more than what the insurance company is requiring,
    know this is not about liability,
    are convinced it doesn’t only happen in urban settings,
    once again are reminded that it indeed happens in faith and school
    settings,
    are not going over the top,
    keep our prices low to make safeguarding affordable for everyone,
    have to do this,
    must continue to persevere, and
    cannot stop.

    I can give you 215 new reasons! Two hundred and fifteen ...
    boys and girls,
    sons and daughters,
    brothers and sisters,
    nephews and nieces,
    grandchildren,
    best friends,
    created and loved by God,
    innocent,
    precious,
    loved,
    full of potential,
    murdered,
    Canadian,
    students of the Kamloops Indian Residential School, the Tk’emlúps te
    Secwépemc

    But ... let us stop for a moment ... it isn’t just 215.

    What about the ...
    children that survived,
    children that carry the wounds, scars, memories of what they
    witnessed,
    teachers and faith leaders that committed the crimes,
    staff that looked on and knew what was happening and were complicit
    in the atrocities,
    community members that suspected what was transpiring,
    immediate and suspected family members that now have an empty
    chair around the table,
    voices who have been pleading for justice, and to be heard, and
    countless graves of children that have yet to be found.

    So, what is one child worth?

    What is the value of each one of those 215 precious lives?

    What can we do?
    Persevere.
    Speak Up.
    Advocate.
    Strive to achieve the HIGHEST STANDARD of abuse prevention and
    protection.
    Upgrade your policies.
    Provide professional development of your staff.
    Train your volunteers and staff.
    Document procedures to get everyone on one page.
    Screen your volunteers.
    Invest in safeguarding.
    Implement progressive steps of discipline.
    Closely monitor power differentials.
    Audit your policies.
    See safeguarding as a HUGE GAP that did not take place at the Kamloops
    Indian
    Residential School, the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc – and look what the cost
    is to so many people and to a Nation.

    Please put it in perspective.

    We can do something! We must change our perspective, we must do better!

    May the number 215 come to mind, every time you think about the
    importance of safeguarding! What is your plan to protect?

    Please never lose sight of the children! Today, it is 215. What will it be
    tomorrow?

    The number 215 has inspired us to continue to persevere, to raise the bar
    and awareness of abuse, to protect the vulnerable, and to do our very best
    at preventing abuse from happening!

    Will you join us?

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