Lasting (and Global!) Impact: A Special Guest Post from Tracy Leonard

A special guest post from D2L Certified Instructor (and former SCAN employee) Tracy Leonard:
Although my family left Northern Virginia and I have left SCAN, I haven’t left the work.  While at SCAN, I was fortunate enough to not only receive the training to become a Darkness to Light Authorized Facilitator, but also a Certified Instructor.  It is a gift that I am so thankful for and continue to use.  In fact, I just returned from a trip to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Japan to train 22 new Authorized Facilitators.
I was able to use my experiences at SCAN and as a part of the Allies in Prevention Coalition (AIPC) to train these professionals not only in using the Stewards of Children curriculum but also in how to make the greatest impact on base.  That is because so many of SCAN’s AIPC members come from Quantico, Fort Belvoir, and Joint Base Myer – Henderson Hall.  I was also able to talk to attendees about establishing a network for themselves where they can meet a few times a year to talk about their experiences as facilitators, discuss roadblocks they may be encountering, and celebrate the successes they are having.  I have that first-hand knowledge because of the 40+-member network of facilitators that SCAN put together in Northern Virginia.
Only 1 of the 22 people I trained at Iwakuni had ever had the Stewards of Children training, so after they took it for the first time it was rewarding to see their wheels turn as they discussed how they could use it in base schools, with their New Parent Support Program, the Family Advocacy Program, and in Behavioral Health–not to mention using it as continuous training to reach out to the greater base community and perhaps even off-base community.
These 22 facilitators have been given a gift.  The gift to teach adults about their responsibility to protect children from child sexual abuse.  And they get to take that gift with them when they move to their next base or return to a civilian community.  We have truly created a way for systematic change to occur and for the prevention wave to take over wherever those trained may go.
This experience comes full circle for myself and SCAN because Diana P. Ortiz–who had worked at Doorways for Women and Children in Arlington for 10 years–is now at MCAS Iwakuni. She had taken a Stewards of Children training put on by SCAN years ago.  Allies in Prevention are everywhere and are continuing to make an impact on reducing child abuse and neglect.  Diana and I are proof!
–Tracy Leonard, Darkness to Light Certified Instructor
You can follow Tracy on Twitter @tracylleonard

Getting Comfortable with Our Discomfort: D2L Facilitator Training in June

Next month, SCAN will host a facilitator workshop for Darkness to Light, where we’ll train adults to deliver the Stewards of Children® training program to others in our local community. Facilitators model the core principals of the curriculum by talking openly about child sexual abuse and engaging adults in discussion, and are expected to schedule and facilitate at least 4 sessions a year. As we prepare for the June 6th training, we are reminded that as adults, we must “get comfortable with our discomfort” if we want to make a difference for the children in our communities. In a recent blog post, D2L’s Executive Director & CEO Katelyn N. Brewer wrote:

“Our inability to act on this issue can be summed up in one word: stigma. Individuals are scared to report due to fear of being ostracized. Friends and family silence victims in disbelief. Corporations are reluctant to associate their brand with an unfriendly cause for fear of what it may imply. Doctors are not required to educate new parents on their child’s susceptibility. Lawmakers are shy to propose bills which erode the statute of limitations. And with little funding available for organizations working to promote change in a scaleable way, we will remain a society that is afraid to address it rather than being afraid not to address it.”

We need more adults in Northern Virginia to be afraid to NOT address the prevalance of child sexual abuse in our community. We need to end the stigma, and training more facilitators is a great next step. Are there people in your organization who are interested in learning more about becoming a facilitator? Darkness to Light has a great overview of facilitator training and requirements here. Or contact SCAN and we can answer your questions and help you register!

 

A Goal We Can Get Behind: “4 Million by 2020” with Darkness to Light

Goals are important to set for so many reasons–they keep us on track, hold us accountable and help push us to our limits.  One goal that we can get behind at SCAN is Darkness to Light’s Four Million by 2020:

Imagine 4 million adults who have been trained in Stewards of Children! 4 million adults who can prevent, recognize and respond to child sexual abuse.  With constant messages and alerts in our news and social media feeds about children who have suffered from the effects of child sexual abuse, we have to be moved to action.  #MeToo, and #TimesUp have shed light on sexual abuse.  But what we are missing here is that these are adults who are coming forward and speaking out.  Most of the abuse they endured happened while they were children.  What if we protected children so that these victims didn’t have to speak out as adults?

If you or your organization has not gone through the 2-hour Stewards of Children training, or if you haven’t had the training in over three years, what are you waiting for?  SCAN has a network of over 40 authorized facilitators who can work with your organization’s schedule to get the training done.  Now THAT’s an important goal. Maybe it’s time for #NoMoreExcuses?

• CLICK HERE to learn more or schedule a training!

 

SCAN’s Response to Larry Nassar: What Every Adult Must Do Next

It is easy to look back at what happened to the over 100 victims of Larry Nassar and see who failed these athletes; Michigan State, USA Gymnastics, coaches and parents who didn’t believe their daughters.  But what if we never had to look back?  What if it had never happened?  I find myself sounding like a broken record yet again when I say it is not enough to hear horror stories about Larry Nassar, but we must DO something so that no other children are sexually abused.  So what can we DO?  Let me provide you with a list.

  1. If you see something, say something.  This catch phrase applies to everything these days.  You do not need to be a mandated reporter to make a report of child abuse (including child sexual abuse) or neglect.
  2. When a child (your own or another child who TRUSTS you) tells you that someone is hurting them, BELIEVE THEM.  On average, 5% of claims by a child are false.  That means 95% are TELLING the TRUTH.
  3. When someone is crossing a barrier with a child (ongoing tickling, inappropriate stories and jokes, closing doors, being alone with a child) speak up and let them know that behavior is not ok.
  4. Make sure that programs and activities that your child is a part of has policies and procedures in place that protect children.  Ask to see them.  If they do not have them, offer to help draft something.
  5. If you choose to allow your child to attend sleepovers at a friends house, ask the parents to show you where the kids will sleep, who else will be home, are doors left open or closed, will they have internet access in the middle of the night…Whatever questions you have – ask.  Whatever rules you would have for your own child – consider them when your child is away from you.
  6. Reduce or eliminate the times your child is left one on one with an adult.  Even if you know and trust the adult.  90% of children are sexual abused by someone the child knows and trusts.
  7. Have open and ongoing conversations with your children about their bodies, the parts of their body that others should not touch, and about sex.
  8. Take the Stewards of Children, Darkness to Light training.  Contact SCAN to set up a training with an organization you are a part of or with a group of parents who simply want to learn how to protect children from child sexual abuse.

Do not sit there and think someone else will do it, or I alone won’t be able to make a difference.  That could not be farther from the truth.  Chose one action and help protect children.  They are worth it!  And we owe it to them.

— Tracy Leonard, Public Education Manager + Authorized Darkness to Light Facilitator

The Tough Discussions Are Worth It: Helping Parents Talk About Child Sexual Abuse

As stories of sexual assault and harassment fill our newsfeeds, it’s critical that we talk to children about this issue and its impact. 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused by the time they turn 18, yet only a third will report it. As professionals, we need to be able to talk to the families we work with about what they can do when trying to raise a family in a world where sexual assault is a daily news story.  We need to empower parents and give them tools to use to address the issue with their children.

We’re hearing a lot in the news about high-profile sexual assault and harassment cases, which means kids are hearing about it too. How should parents handle it?

The age of the child should dictate how parents handle this issue.  For younger children, simply turn off the television and limit what they are exposed to.  For older children, parents should use it as a teaching moment – keeping open channels of communication, discussing vocabulary, and making sure their older children and teens know it is okay to ask questions.

It is also important that parents, or any adults for that matter, don’t normalize the behaviors and actions.

By opening up lines of communication with the parents we work with, we are helping end the taboo of sexual misconduct.  They will then become more comfortable talking to other adults in their children’s lives like caregivers, teachers, coaches, and relatives.

Much of what has been reported in the news has its basis in boundary violations.  It is important that we teach children about their boundaries and model appropriate boundaries when we are around children. Darkness to Light outlines this perfectly:

If you are a “bystander” who witnesses a boundary violation, or sees a situation in which a child is vulnerable, it’s not important to know the intentions of the person who crossed the boundary. What is important is that you reinforce the boundary – even if you are in front of others, or in a public setting.

Describe the Behavior:

“It’s against policy for you to be in the classroom alone with a student.”

Set a Limit:

“You need to take your conversation to the student lounge.”

Move On:

“I’m on my way there, now, so I’ll walk with you.”

The current news cycle has sexual assault in the spotlight, which means our kids are hearing about it. Instead of shielding them from the discussion, let parents know they should be the one to start it with them. It can be uncomfortable at times, but the hard work is worth it when it means parents can educate their children and establish a safe place for them to ask questions and share feelings in the future.

— Tracy Leonard, Public Education Manager: tleonard(at)scanva.org

SCAN Staff Members Trained in Award-Winning Stewards of Children® Program for Child Sexual Abuse Prevention, Once Again Named “Partner in Prevention”

December 11, 2017—SCAN of Northern Virginia has once again achieved “Partner in Prevention” status, a designation awarded by the nonprofit Darkness to Light to organizations which take extra steps to protect the children they serve by training staff to understand the issue of child sexual abuse, identify unsafe situations and practices, and react responsibly in the best interest of the children they serve.

One in 10 children will be sexually abused before the age of 18. SCAN earned the “Partner in Prevention” designation by providing Stewards of Children training to over 90% of its management, staff, and volunteers. This evidence-informed program is scientifically proven to help participants prevent and respond to child sexual abuse. “Partner in Prevention” was created as a national standard to help parents and caregivers recognize organizations that take child protection seriously by implementing policy and training staff to prevent child sexual abuse.

Darkness to Light is an international organization that leads the movement to end child sexual abuse by educating and empowering adults in education, youth serving organizations, and communities to protect children. Darkness to Light has affiliates in all 50 states and 16 international locations.

  • To learn more about child sexual abuse prevention training or to enroll your organization in Darkness to Light’s “Partner in Prevention” program, please visit www.D2L.org/Partner.
  • To schedule a training for your organization with SCAN, click here.

About Darkness to Light: Darkness to Light (D2L) has championed the movement to end child sexual abuse since its founding in 2000. With affiliates in all 50 U.S. states and 16 additional countries, D2L provides individuals, organizations, and communities with the tools to protect children from sexual abuse. To date, the D2L network of 9,000 authorized facilitators has trained over 1.2 million parents, youth serving professionals, and organization volunteers in D2L’s award-winning Stewards of Children® child sexual abuse prevention program.

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For further information, please contact Public Education Manager Tracy Leonard at 703-820-9001 or tleonard(at)scanva.org.

My IGNITE! Experience—On the Road with Darkness to Light

I am writing this blog post fresh from the first Darkness to Light Facilitators Conference, Ignite! I was joined by 170 others from 32 states and 4 countries (including 4 of us from Northern Virginia).

The conference was a fantastic mix of dynamic and engaging keynote speakers, experts in specific content related to Stewards of Children, a panel who shared their lessons learned and achievements, and a chance to interact with others who are faced with similar challenges in engaging the community in such a tough topic. It was also a chance to meet some of the faces from the Stewards of Children videos including Tiffany Sawyer, Carol Hogue, Sylvia Goalen, Keisha Head and of course, Paula Sellers!

For professionals in the field, there were some key takeaways that I have to share. Here are my top 10:

  1. Jim Clemente, retired FBI Supervisory Agent/Profiler reminded us that we have to give victims hope. We cannot condemn them to silence and the inability to seek help.
  2. He also reminded us that we must find BALANCE in our lives or that which we love to do so much can kill us.
  3. Carol Hogue and Martha Tumblin, D2L Instructors Extraordinaire, challenged the facilitators to remember why we must take risks to protect children
  4. Kevin McNeil, Special Victims Detective/author/educator and MOTIVATOR, had so many good thoughts! Including: abuse destroys a child’s ability to make relationships and connections.
  5. We do not need to see abuse to act. When we see it, it is too late.
  6. Trauma freezes thinking.
  7. It’s not enough to listen to a victim, we must hear them.
  8. Abuse stops children from giving us the gifts they have inside.
  9. I am lucky to do what I do and to know it makes a difference.
  10. Memphis 2018, Ignite! I will be there. Let’s keep the flame lit.

There are over 10,000 Darkness to Light Facilitators throughout the world, 125 instructors (of which I am 1) and there have been over 1.4 million adults trained to become Stewards of Children.

But that isn’t enough: Darkness to Light’s goal is 4 million trained by 2020.

Will you help us reach that goal? I know Northern Virginia can play a huge role in making this a reality. If you 1.) have not yet been trained, 2.) know of a group of adults who need this training, and/or 3.) If you haven’t had the training in the last three years, please email me today!

— Tracy Leonard, Public Education Manager | tleonard(at)scanva.org

The Movement to End Child Sexual Abuse — Are You Our Next Facilitator?

SCAN has known for years that Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children is an excellent curriculum for teaching all adults how to protect children from child sexual abuse.  We have trained close to 1,500 adults in Northern Virginia.  However, there is a wider network of Darkness to Light facilitators in Northern Virginia, DC, and Maryland that is reaching and training even more adults.

Through our Public Education efforts at SCAN, we convene these facilitators twice a year to share best practices, roadblocks, and skills to become stronger facilitators.  In June, I had the honor of training 18 more facilitators.  Some will join our efforts here in Northern Virginia (The Young Marines, Northern Virginia Family Services, We Support the Girls, Falls Church City Public Schools), and others will take the training back to their organizations (which included Prince George’s County DSS, Prince George’s County Public Schools, and The James House).

Darkness to Light facilitators know that they have been trained using a curriculum in which attendees are able to immediately implement things they have learned, whether that is reducing one-on-one situations between children and adults, creating policies in our organizations that protect children, or being empowered to intervene in situations where adults are crossing boundaries.

Being a facilitator is a rewarding experience.  If you would like to become one, we will be having another training on August 10 in Loudoun County.  Register for the training here.

You soon learn you are a part of something bigger – a movement to end child sexual abuse. It can be done.

– Tracy Leonard, Public Education Manager, tleonard(at)scanva.org

 

3 Facts on Child Sexual Abuse, Prevention and SCAN of Northern Virginia

 

  1. FACT: Child sexual abuse is far more prevalent than most people realize.
  •   Child sexual abuse is likely the most prevalent health problem children face with the most serious array of consequences.
  •   About one in 10 children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday.
  •   This year, there will be about 400,000 babies born in the U.S. that will become victims of child sexual abuse unless we do something to stop it.
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  1. FACT: Child sexual abuse often takes place under specific, often surprising circumstances. It is helpful to know these circumstances because it allows for the development of strategies to avoid child sexual abuse.
  •   81% of child sexual abuse incidents for all ages occur in one-perpetrator/one-child circumstances.
  •   Most sexual abuse of children occurs in a residence, typically that of the victim or perpetrator – 84% for children under age 12, and 71% for children aged 12 to 17.
  •   Sexual assaults on children are most likely to occur at 8 a.m., 12 p.m. and between 3 and 4 p.m. For older children, aged 12 to 17, there is also a peak in assaults in the late evening hours.
  •   One in seven incidents of sexual assault perpetrated by juveniles occurs on school days in the after-school hours between 3 and 7 p.m., with a peak from 3 to 4 pm.
  1. FACT: SCAN trained 213 individuals last year in the Stewards of Children curriculum, and we are scheduling trainings NOW for the year ahead across Northern Virginia.We need YOU to invite us to train individuals in the agencies, school districts, childcare centers, rec centers and faith groups in your community.

Ready to take action to protect children and empower adults in 2017? Contact Tracy Leonard, Public Education Manager, at tleonard(at)scanva.org for details or to schedule a training.

New Workshops with SCAN!

It’s a new school year and we’re excited to launch a new menu of workshops for the community! We encourage ALL groups of people to consider a workshop — from nonprofits, schools and government agencies to parenting groups, employers and faith groups. Our workshops are based on SCAN’s existing child abuse prevention and advocacy programs as well as the expertise of SCAN staff. We can often customize workshops for the specific needs of a group, and most topics are available in English and Spanish, too!

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So, how does your group want to be empowered this year?

We want to prevent CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE PREVENTION:

  • Darkness to Light, Stewards of Children2 hours, $25 per person (minimum 10, maximum 25 people)
  • Talking with Children about Safety from Sexual Abuse, 45 minutes, $150
  • Healthy Touch for Children & Youth, 45 minutes, $150
  • Bystanders Protecting Children from Boundary Violations & Sexual Abuse, 45 minutes, $150
  • Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, 1 hour, $200
  • Child Sexual Abuse for Parents, 1 hour, $150

We want to support PARENT EDUCATION:

  • Have You Filled a Bucket Today, 1 hour, $200
  • How to Connect with Your Child and Build a Resilient Family (Managing Family Stress), 1 hour, $200
  • Wait, My Kid Has a Date?, 1 hour, $200
  • Positive Discipline: Raising Children with Self Control, 1 hour, $200
  • Tech Savvy Parenting/Internet Seguro, 1 hour, $200
  • Families Reunite (Immigrant Family Reunification, 4 weeks, 1.5 hours per night), $1500
  • Made in America: Padres Hispanos Criando Hijos Americanos (Immigrant parents raising children in the US, 4 weeks, 1.5 hours per night), $1500

We want to engage our community in prevention through PUBLIC EDUCATION:

We want to GET TO KNOW SCAN:

  • All About SCAN, @ SCAN
  • How YOU Can Help Prevent Child Abuse in Your Community
  • SCAN Volunteer Orientation, monthly – click link for more information and upcoming dates

We want to host a BROWN BAG SERIES for our employees:

  • Strategies for the Working Parent: Customize a parenting topic to compliment your human resource efforts in your office and offer support to your employees.

Don’t see a topic here you would like? SCAN can customize and deliver a 1-hour workshop for $400. In most cases we can add concurrent children’s programming for an additional fee. (Download the full SCAN Workshop Menu here.)

How can we support your organization in its work this year to build stronger families, support parents and protect children? Contact us and let’s get something on the calendar!

 

SCAN