Darkness to Light is a non-profit committed to empowering adults to prevent child sexual abuse. Their work is guided by the belief that violence prevention is possible and that it is an adult responsibility to protect children.
Katelyn Brewer, President and CEO of Darkness to Light discusses how during the COVID-19 pandemic, adults can modify their approach to protect kids and prevent child abuse. There are actionable steps we can take as a parent or caregiver towards preventing and responding to sexual abuse and creating safer environments for children.
Katelyn Brewer: The unfortunate reality for some children is that home is not safe under normal conditions. However, according to a 2019 study, stress associated with a disaster, or in this case a pandemic, can lead to higher rates of both domestic violence and child abuse. Children may be quarantined with their abuser.
School and after school activities served as a much-needed reprieve and access to a safe adult. COVID-19 has forced those students to be separated from educators and administrators, responsible for 52% of child abuse reports in the US.
We know from the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Study, that without the support of caring and competent adults, stress can become toxic for children, with profound effects on brain structures and functions that develop later in childhood.
Katelyn Brewer: The Mood Meter App is a great way to check-in on kids’ emotions and what is going on with them. Another idea is to have kids keep a journal on what they are noticing, witnessing, feeling, and experiencing. To help protect kids from sexual abuse and minimize opportunity, it’s important to prevent isolation, keep situations interruptible, and set expectations. These 3 things can be applied to any situation, in-person or virtually.
Katelyn Brewer: Child abuse is preventable.
The effects of child sexual abuse can lead to prevalent lifelong health issues, but by preventing child sexual abuse, we can help dramatically reduce depression, suicide attempts, substance abuse, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Katelyn Brewer: Darkness to Light’s 5 Steps to Protecting Children™ is a guide for developing protective behaviors against abuse.
The 5 Steps are:
Let your kids know you are there for them and that they can tell you anything and you will believe them.
Katelyn Brewer: Talking openly about our bodies and healthy boundaries with kids helps to build a strong bond that will make you the “go-to-person” when they have questions or if a situation arises. If you are feeling unsure, take a deep breath!
The most important thing is to make sure your kids understand that no matter what happens, they can share with you without fear of being blamed and that you will protect them. Here are some tips to get started.
Katelyn Brewer: In response to the unique challenge of keeping kids safe during this time, Darkness to Light launched a new training, Protecting Children During a Crisis. This training is specifically designed to help parents and caregivers navigate through the unusual circumstances they may be facing our current global health crisis. The training is provided at no cost, takes 30 minutes, and can be taken online.
Through Darkness to Light’s partnership with an advocate and champion gymnast, Aly Raisman, individuals can take the Stewards of Children® prevention training at no cost Learn to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse Use the code FLIPTHESWITCH at https://fliptheswitchcampaign.org/.
Darkness to Light also has created resources on taking protective steps, minimizing the opportunity for abuse, and online safety protocols of teachers and parents. See more resources here.
While school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV) is prevalent, it is also preventable, and there are evidence-based solutions that show that teachers and school personnel can be significant changemakers when they take active roles in preventing, addressing, and responding to violence.
Survivors and allies demand change
International Safer Internet Day serves as a reminder that we all have a role to play in keeping children and adolescents safe online. Together, we can make the internet a safer and better place for children and adolescents now and in the future.
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On Human Rights Day, let’s commit to accelerating progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by ending violence against children and adolescents. We must protect their right to live free from violence.
November 18 is the Inaugural World Day for Prevention, Healing and Justice to End Sexual Violence Against Children and Adolescents.
We have conducted secondary analyses of the Violence Against Children and Youth Surveys (VACS) to understand the prevalence, consequences, and gender-specific experiences of violence in and around schools.
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Every October 11, we celebrate International Day of the Girl to recognize the achievements, opportunities and challenges impacting girls and young women everywhere.
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Together for Girls and partners hosted a Solutions Summit side event. Global leaders, experts, and youth activists shared the latest data on violence in school settings and highlighted school-based interventions for catalyzing broader social change to end violence.
“Social Responsibility within Changing Contexts” was the 2021 conference theme for the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES). CIES is dedicated to increasing understanding of educational issues, trends, and policies through comparative, intercultural, and international perspectives.
Together for Girls profiles VidaNyx — the leading cloud-based digital video evidence management solution that works to address the needs of the Children’s Advocacy Center in the U.S. — as a critical solution in the What Works to Prevent Sexual Violence Against Children Evidence Review.
The month of April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month. Throughout April, the Keep Kids Safe coalition is raising awareness of sexual violence and promoting events that amplify the voices of survivors.
As we think about the past year there are undeniable moments of collaboration and partnership that provide hope as we prepare for the year ahead.
Every child deserves to be safe at home, in their communities, and at school. However, findings from the VACS show that many children experience school-related gender-based violence. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Whether you’re a parent, leader of a youth-focused organization, or coach of a youth sports team, you should know what safeguarding is and why it’s critical to keeping kids safe.
Together for Girls, Darkness to Light, Child USA, and the National Children’s Alliance join forces with a diverse coalition of adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, advocates, and leading organizations to launch #KeepKidsSafe.
The COVID-19 lockdowns around the U.S. have exacerbated what was already a widespread problem gripping our nation: the trapping of children at home with sexual abusers.
Friends can play a powerful role in helping survivors access and receive critical care to help them seek justice and start their journey to heal.
This blog features COVID-19 parenting resources, including evidence-based strategies to manage stress, tools to keep children safe online, and guides that help parents talk to their kids about COVID-19.
Childhood sexual violence differs from other forms of violence, such as physical or psychological violence, as child development and the capacity to consent influence its recognition as a crime.
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A prudent intervention on the adoption of safeguarding policies and procedures for child and youth-serving organizations
A program that recognizes and encourages coaches' unique position to impact positive attitudes and behaviors, and challenge toxic masculinity