By Breanne Massey
A new workshop is geared toward helping families and social workers recognize the signs of sexual abuse amongst children within the community.
The Little Warriors Prevent It! Workshop will be offered to adults for free between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. at JA Laird Elementary School next week on Wednesday, September 30th.
Our target audience is parents and (social work or counselling) professionals and volunteers that work with children, explained Little Warriors prevention lead Shannon Phelan. Wouldnt it be great if everyone learned how to prevent this horrific crime before it happened to their child or in their community?
According to Statistics Canada, there were approximately 14,000 child and youth victims of sexual offences reported in Canada in 2012, a rate of 205 victims for every 100,000 children and youth. Roughly one in five (21 per cent) offences with children were reported to police in 2012 as sexual offences.
But victims between the ages of 18 to 24 recorded the next highest rate of sexual offences (140 per 100,000 population), and statistics for these rates steadily decreased afterwards, reaching six per 100,000 population for victims 55 years or older. After peaking at 215 victims for every 100,000 children and youth in 2010, the rate of sexual offences against children and youth decreased for two consecutive years.
The rate in 2012 was similar to the rate of police-reported sexual offences against children and youth in 2009.
Participants will be taken through a workshop by a facilitator who will show a video, do workbook exercises and facilitate a discussion, said Ms. Phelan. Participants learn about the facts of child sexual abuse, strategies to help prevent it and what to do should it occur.
When the Little Warriors national organization was launched in 2008, the treatment and prevention focused group offered a workshop that was developed in the United States of America.
We wanted to develop our own with Canadian content and statistics so it really hit home with Canadians, said Ms. Phelan. We worked with researchers at the University of Alberta, and we are so proud of our new (Prevent It!) workshop. We have RCMP and Aboriginal representatives in the video helping us deliver the message.
To register for the free workshop, visit http://littlewarriors.ca/prevention/workshop/.