CANADIAN RED CROSS ABUSE PREVENTION SERVICES
In the decade since 1990, the Canadian Red Cross has devoted resources to raising awareness among Canadians to the serious issue of child and youth maltreatment. Through a network of professionally trained volunteer educators, the Society's award winning Abuse Prevention Services programs have been delivered to over 750, 000 young Canadians. On January 2, 1997, a great Canadian mustered the courage to disclose to the nation the years of terrible abuse he had suffered at the hands of his junior hockey coach. Sheldon Kennedy put a face on the issue of abuse. He brought to the eyes and ears of the nation the painful truth of the fate of so many children and youth living in Canada. His was truly an act of bravery, and his cross country skate to raise awareness and funds to address the issue deserves him the recognition as a Canadian hero. In 1999 the Sheldon Kennedy Foundation joined forces with the Canadian Red Cross and in the past year alone over 100,000 young Canadians have received the message of abuse prevention.
We see a day when Canadians live in communities that value kindness, respect, and peace. Where parents and their children are secure in the knowledge that they can attend their places of work and their schools, participate in sports, recreation and leisure pursuits without fear for their safety, their dignity, and their well-being. We see a day when our communities are equipped to deal with difficult issues in an open, honest, and respectful fashion. Where the extreme few cases of child maltreatment are dealt with swiftly and diligently with care, compassion, and the preservation of human dignity. Where people understand the power that exists in them to influence others, especially children. And, that they respect this power and never do harm. We see a day when employers design work to support the most valuable resources in a community - its children. Where workers are afforded the flexibility to complete their assignments in harmony with the needs of their children and families. Where organizations understand the massive positive impact of promoting and supporting the health and well-being of the children and youth in their communities. We see a day when the need for police forces, jails, correctional institutions, and treatment and transition houses is dramatically reduced. And, the public funds redirected to supporting community health promotion and education, with particular investment in our future leaders - our children. Ultimately, we see a day when we can raise our arms and declare victory over child neglect, abuse, and violence in Canada. The Canadian Red Cross is unique in its efforts to pursue this vision through education.
It is now the time for the Society to inform the public of its intention to fully implement programs and services in pursuit of this vision to stop violence and abuse. It cannot, however, accomplish this task at hand without support. It is now the time for all levels of government to direct resources to prevent future incidence of child and youth maltreatment in amounts sufficient to address the magnitude of problem. It is now the time for private organizations to reinvest in their communities through the support of programs and services aimed at breaking the cycle of child and youth neglect, abuse, and violence. It is now the time for all Canadians to look within and to ask themselves whether the thousands of cases of abused children and youth in Canada is acceptable. Whether we as a nation want to promote and model a society that cares or does not care about its future generations. Reproduced with permission.
Red Cross has expressed a commitment to ongoing evaluation of their
efforts to educate and empower adolescents regarding child abuse. They
regularly seek input from teachers and counselors regarding the effects
of the program, and students are given an opportunity to voice their
opinions as well. As a first step in a program of more rigorous evaluation
of abuse prevention efforts, the format and goals of the Child Abuse
Prevention Program for Adolescents were evaluated in 1995 by independent
researchers Cathryn Hill and Gary McCarron. This evaluation indicated
that adolescents who participated in the program had significantly higher
rates of knowledge, that this increase was greater for boys than girls,
and that a significant proportion of girls reported that the presentation
had helped them to assist themselves or another victim of abuse. The
researchers also concluded that the presentation did not appear to influence
students to perceive non-abusive situations as abusive (a potential
criticism of such programs), that the student responses to the presentations
were positive, and that the majority of student disclosures of abuse
involved family members. Further evaluative research on the effectiveness
of Red Cross Services will be conducted by Memorial University's Dr.
Kenneth Baxter, who will do a qualitative study of the written disclosures
received by the Red Cross.
For more information, please contact
the Canadian Red Cross.