April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. As part of our commitment to protecting the children in our community, we’re participating in the Five Days of Action – a week-long campaign to increase awareness of child sexual abuse and empower and equip us all to prevent it. By taking part in this important campaign and through implementing abuse prevention practices year-round, YMCA of Coastal Carolina is committing to the safety of all children in our community.
The Know. See. Respond. campaign is back this year, tying in three impact areas – preventing child sexual abuse at both summer camp and in youth sports, and internet safety. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, U.S. Center for SafeSport and Praesidium have shared resources to support this campaign.
Know: Summer Camp
KNOWing about child sexual abuse can help adults better understand what to look for and how to prevent it. As parents, caregivers, and trusted adults to the young people in our lives, we play an important role in protecting them from abuse. This requires our commitment to continually learn and then ask questions about the safety of our loved ones.
The Y – and other youth serving organizations – implement a series of measures to keep the kids in their care safe. Next time you enroll your loved one in a new program, ask them about their child protection practices. For this summer, you can use this list.
See: Youth Sports
When we SEE boundaries being crossed or suspect a child is being abused, we can and should act quickly. Sports should be safe places for children to grow, both as people and athletes. As a parent, caregiver, coach, or volunteer, it is up to you to make sure any environment in which children in your care interact is free from abuse. Learn more about the signs and how you can help prevent child sexual abuse in youth sports at https://uscenterforsafesport.org/parents/.
Respond: Internet Safety
Did you know that you don’t need evidence to report abuse—only reasonable suspicion? But even for adults, reporting abuse is hard. We don’t want to falsely accuse someone or get someone in trouble. On the other hand, reporting might be the one thing that saves a child – or children – from abuse. It is our responsibility to RESPOND to any and all disclosure, discovery or suspicion of child sexual abuse.
As adults and children alike have turned to digital tools for school, work and socialization, online safety matters now more than ever. Many online dangers put children at risk, such as cyber bullying, online enticement and more. As an adult, keeping an open line of communication with any children in your care who may access online content can be key to helping prevent sexual abuse. Learn the facts, how you can keep kids safe, and how to respond to online victimization at https://www.missingkids.org/netsmartz.
We take our commitment to child protection seriously and we hope you do too. The YMCA of Coastal Carolina takes our child protection policies seriously to ensure we keep kids safe in Horry and Georgetown Counties.