Today’s blog wraps up our series focusing on National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Hopefully, you saw some pinwheels and blue ribbons in and around your community as symbols of child abuse prevention. Raising awareness during the month of April gives individuals, schools, organizations, and communities important information and resources to bring attention to child safety and prevention efforts. At the hub of the community where they are located, schools play a significant role in keeping children safe from all types of maltreatment. According to David Finkelhor, Director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center, “schools are a well-established venue for delivering such prevention messages; they have access to nearly the entire universe of children and families.” 1 In addition, research conducted by the Center has found that “children involved in school-based prevention programs were more likely to use the school-taught self-protection strategies when victimized or threatened; were more likely to feel they were successful in protecting themselves; and were more likely to disclose to someone about the victimization attempts.” 2
To support the efforts of schools in the area of child abuse prevention, The Florida Department of Education has published the Child Abuse Prevention Sourcebook for School Personnel that provides recommendations for an effective prevention program:
- Select and use presenters and programs that will reinforce the content by providing lessons over the course of several days
- Provide the opportunity to practice the skills presented
- Involve parents through an informational session and the provision of written materials
The Monique Burr Foundation for Children agrees that schools are the best place to teach children strategies to protect themselves. During this month, all Florida public schools received child abuse prevention lessons to be taught in the classroom. Administrators, teachers, and counselors were encouraged to use these materials to assure that students understand what abuse is, how to protect themselves, and how to get assistance. These lessons focused on teaching students the 5 Safety Rules designed to protect them from maltreatment:
The lesson plans can be found at these links:
In addition to supporting prevention efforts in April, MBF works year-round to provide programs for schools to teach and reinforce these concepts and strategies. Check with your child’s school to see what type of prevention/safety program they may be using. If they are not using a program, encourage them to learn more and use MBF Child Safety Matters™ for elementary schools, MBF Teen Safety Matters™ for middle schools, and MBF Child Safety Matters Is Cool After School for after-school and other youth-serving organizations. MBF also offers parents, professionals, and concerned community members a variety of resources to help protect children.
- Visit our websites, mbfchildsafetymatters.org and www.polyvictimization.org to learn more about child victimization and how to better protect the children in your life.
- Download the “Child Safety Matters” app at no cost from the App Store or Google Play to learn about the 5 Safety Rules and how to become a champion for children.
- Visit childsafetymattersedu.org to take any of our free, one-hour online courses to learn more about pertinent topics related to child safety:
– Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse/Neglect
– Real World Safety: Protecting children online and off from bullying, cyberbullying, and digital abuse
– Protecting Children from Child Sexual Abuse
– Make a donation or purchase tickets to attend our fundraising event, A Night At Roy’s, on May 16. Our most immediate need to better protect children is funding. Visit www.ANightAtRoys.com for more information and to purchase tickets.