KEEPING OUR CHILDREN SAFE
Our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children.
– Walt Disney
Children are our future. It is therefore our responsibility to care for and protect our children so that they can be become responsible adults who in turn, take care of their children and future. We need to work together to build cultures of caring, respect, and safety for everyone in our families, schools, youth organizations, religious institutions, companies, and other groups.
Individuals as well as organizations need to know how to take charge of the safety of the young people in their care and how to stop abuse, bullying, harassment, and other dangerous behaviour by doing the following:
- Put safety first
- Make all forms of emotional and physical violence and abuse explicitly and publicly against the rules.
- Everyone needs to know what safe behaviour is and what is not, including hygiene, supervision of activities, driving, swimming, personal safety, and so on.
- Everyone needs to know what the rules are about safe and appropriate behaviour and what the consequences are of not upholding the rules.
- Adults should be in charge of keeping kids safe. We want children to take charge of their own safety as best they can, but the bottom line is that adults are responsible for ensuring that children are protected from harm until they are able to protect themselves. In any case, it is NEVER the child’s fault if an adult does something unsafe.
- Make it safe for everyone to speak up.
- Children need to know that unsafe behaviour, especially by an adult in charge, should NEVER have to be a secret, even if you already promised to keep it a secret.
- Speaking up takes both skill and courage. Even young children can learn how to stay, “Please stop.” Or, “That’s not safe!” And young people can learn that it is never too late to tell.
- Children need to know where or whom to go to, to report unsafe behaviour. They have to know that it is OK to be persistent in getting the help they need. Children should learn how to find adults who will listen and how to keep asking until an adult helps to solve the problem.
- Uphold the rules in a fair, equitable fashion
- Have clear agreements and rules about what is and is not safe or appropriate in your environment.
- Have appropriate consequences for unsafe behaviour and communicate those consequences clearly.
- No one is above the rules – no matter their position of power, prestige or privilege.
LET’S ALL WORK TOGETHER IN
KEEPING OUR CHILDREN SAFE