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  • Why I Didn't Say Anything by Sheldon Kennedy

    Book Recommendation -- Why I Didn't Say Anything

    Book Recommendation -- Why I Didn't Say Anything by Sheldon Kennedy August 30, 2019
    Filed Under:
    Abuse Awareness

    A conversation at a kitchen table:

    Son: Mom, I don't want to play hockey anymore!

    Dad: What are you talking about? You love hockey!

    Son: I don't want to play anymore; it's no longer fun! 

    Mom: Of course, you have fun!

    Son: I don't want to go to any more tournaments!

    Dad: You can't let your team down!

    Son: I'm done!

    Mom: Do you know how much money we have invested in your hockey! You can't quit now. You are headed to professionals. 

    Son: I don't like the coach!

    Dad: Don't talk about your coach like that! Do you know how much that man has done for you boys! You are one of his favourite players! You be thankful – and show him your gratitude! 

    Can you not hear this conversation happening at dinner tables across North America! Certainly, as it relates to hockey, in hundreds of Canadian homes. 

  • Invisible Target: Breaking the Cycle of Educator Sexual Abuse

    My middle school teacher molested me.

    Book Recommendations -- Invisible Target: Breaking the Cycle of Educator Sexual Abuse August 21, 2019 Andrea Clemens
    Filed Under:
    Abuse Awareness

    “My middle school teacher molested me.

    How is it possible for those words to be written?  One would think that a school teacher, trained to educate and care for children, would be the last person able to harm a child.  Het, this man sexually abused me for years, and not a single adult came to my rescue. 

    Mr. Baker was a well-respected married man whom students loved, parents trusted, and the school awarded.  He spent two years grooming me – building up my trust, spending time listening to my problems, and showering me with much-needed attention I hadn’t received at home.  Mr. Baker was completely above suspicion that he would be capable of sexually abusing someone. 

  • We Too by Mary DeMuth

    Book Recommendations: We Too: How the Church Can Respond Redemptively to the Sexual Abuse Crisis August 13, 2019
    Filed Under:
    Abuse Awareness

    Over the course of the next few weeks I am going to be highlighting some great books targeting different segments of our society where abuse is present, and unfortunately too rampant. 

    According to Mary DeMuth, “Predators permeate every strata of society. My first abusers were Boy Scouts. This man? A doctor. They infiltrate trustworthy structures like organizations, sports, and, yes, even the church.”

    If it is true that the sexual abuse crisis has permeated every corner of our world, including the church, we need a strategy to combat each strata.

    How we respond to both its menacing proliferation and the shattered hearts of survivors is vital. God beckons us to be good Samaritans to those facing trauma and sexual brokenness in the aftermath of abuse, to provide safe places to heal in community. 

    In the pages of her newest book, We Too, author and advocate Mary DeMuth encourages the church she loves to rise up and face the very real evil of sexual abuse and harassment--with candor and empathy. Based on current research and survivors' stories, along with a fierce fidelity to Scripture, DeMuth paints a realistic picture of the church's historical and present response to sexual violence, and she provides a framework of revival and surprising hope for the future.

  • When I was a young boy, I loved September. And it wasn’t because the leaves were changing colour or because of the crisp smells in the air. It was because the first Monday of October was near, and the first Monday of October was the opening of bird hunting season in Nova Scotia.

    On that day, I knew my dad and I would take off from school...

  • Protection and Youth Groups

    February 19, 2019 Jessica Debanné
    Filed Under:
    Abuse Awareness
    One of the things I love most about being a leader in the youth group of my local church and at a youth center is relationship-building. I love meeting teens, listening to their stories and testimonies, discovering their personalities, understanding their families and friends, learning about their hobbies and dreams.

    Often, our conversations are...
  • I was recently interviewed by Faith Today magazine and they asked, “how many organizations and churches have a plan to protect?” 

    My hope is that every organization and church that serves the vulnerable sector, would have some sort of a plan to protect but not all plans are the same, nor do they all adhere to the same standard.

    As we review and customize hundreds of policies and procedure manuals a year, we see such a wide variety of policies including:

    • Policies which range from one page to 500 pages; 
    • Policies which addressing only sexual abuse, to policies that cover all types of abuse and neglect; and
    • Policies which are designed only to protect children, to policies that protect all vulnerable persons.
    Plan to Protect® was first written in 1996 and our desire has been and continues to be to provide the HIGHEST STANDARD of protection and abuse prevention. However, in the last 22 years Plan to Protect® has gone through many updates and revisions.  For example, we’re now on our third significant edition of the manual - please ensure your Plan to Protect® published manual was written after 2010 to make sure you have the most up-to-date one.
  • We are often asked if schools follow the same standard of protection that Plan to Protect® recommends.  Often the standards schools follow are the objections that Board members and leaders use to refute the best practices that are laid out in policies and procedures.  How safe are our schools?
  • Caring for Victims of Abuse

    Who do you reach out to when you need care and support? May 30, 2018 Melodie Bissell
    Filed Under:
    Abuse Awareness, Vulnerable Sector, Case Study

    Who do you reach out to when you need care and support?

    Last week I was interviewed by a young journalist from Huffington Post and asked why victims of child abuse reached out to clergy to disclose their abuse. The interviewer was writing in response to recent disclosures of abuse: #MeTOO and #ChurchTOO.

    As I responded to the questions, I thought of many individual cases of abuse where each individual disclosed their abuse to someone they trusted. Some of the names have been changed to protect the victims.

  • Mar27Tue

    Member Profile: Variety Village

    March 27, 2018 Article by: Meagan Gillmore
    Filed Under:
    Abuse Awareness, Vulnerable Sector, Case Study
    A Toronto not-for-profit that specializes in providing inclusive sports and recreation programs has strengthened relationships between staff and clients by increasing its abuse prevention.

    Variety Village runs inclusive fitness, sports and recreation programs for people of all ages. People of all ages use Variety Village. Programs range from activities for parents and infants to fitness classes for seniors. Elite athletes train there. Children return each year for summer camps and day camps.

    This familiarity creates a family atmosphere, so the organization has to be diligent to avoid anything that could lead to allegations of abuse. Today, staff, volunteers and campers congratulate each other with high fives and fist bumps. All participants must check in and check out for camp programs, regardless of how long staff or volunteers may have known the campers.
  • Feb28Wed

    Member Profile: Southwestern Ontario Youth for Christ/Youth Unlimited

    February 28, 2018 Article by: Meagan Gillmore, Freelance Writer, Toronto
    Filed Under:
    Policies and Procedures, Abuse Awareness, Vulnerable Sector, Case Study
    Rapid changes in youth culture and communication can make it hard for adults to know how to teach youth how to build and create healthy relationships. That's one reason why Southwestern Ontario YFC/YU prioritizes consistent training about abuse prevention...

    This hasn't hurt staff and volunteers' ability to build good relationships with students, said Deller. Students may wonder sometimes why a staff or volunteer can't give them a ride alone, butthey understand when staff and volunteers explain the safety reasons for it. These are the same reasons why staff and volunteers give students side hugs or fist pumps instead of letting them sit on their laps or giving them hugs.