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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!
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?
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.
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
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.”
“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
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.
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.
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:
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
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
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.
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!
So, how does your group want to be empowered this year?
We want to prevent CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE PREVENTION:
We want to support PARENT EDUCATION:
We want to engage our community in prevention through PUBLIC EDUCATION:
We want to GET TO KNOW SCAN:
We want to host a BROWN BAG SERIES for our 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!