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, the Fond du Lac Family YMCA is committing to the safety of all children in our community.
For the Know. See. Respond. campaign this year, we are tying in four impact areas – preventing child sexual abuse in aquatics, gymnastics, and youth sports & activities, as well as 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: Aquatics & Gymnastics
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 is both honored and respectful of the trust that caregivers place in our YMCA. Creating a safe environment in physical, social and emotional realms are at the center of our work and our relationships. A safe setting for children combined with quality programming is the most important part of our focus upon youth development, healthy living & social responsibility.
The Y implements 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.
See: Youth Sports & Activities
When we SEE boundaries being crossed or suspect a child is being abused, we can and should act quickly. Sports and other activities 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. Check out our protection policy here – CHILD SAFETY – to learn more about how we keep kids safe at the Fond du Lac Family YMCA.