The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
ALEXANDRIA, Va., -- The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® and Honeywell (NYSE : HON ) today announced that their joint child safety program, KidSmartz®, has expanded to teach child sexual abuse prevention. The award-winning program has been educating children in grades K-5 about how to minimize the risk of abduction for five years and NCMEC and Honeywell have collaborated on that topic for more than a decade.
NCMEC created two new lesson plans, "Uncomfortable Touch" and "Surprises vs. Secrets," that are being released in time for back-to-school, and are designed to help educators in classrooms across the country introduce the topic of abuse prevention and teach behaviors that can help keep children safe. The plans are in response to a growing need to address this topic with legislation in many states requiring that schools teach their students about this issue.
"Recent studies suggest that 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused by their 18th birthday, and our CyberTipline receives thousands of reports every year about this type of victimization," said John Clark, NCMEC president and CEO. "This cannot be ignored. Through KidSmartz®, we can bring critical child abuse prevention education to schools and communities across the country."
1 in 10 is woefully inadequate. As I have mentioned several times, these numbers do not include peer-on-peer abuse for some reason. Most reputable sites use numbers that are considerably higher, for instance the CDC = 1 in 4 girls; 1 in 6 boys. The difference has partly to do with the definition of sexual abuse, and partly to do with where the numbers come from (most sexual abuse is never reported to police or anyone else, ie using official police numbers doesn't come close to reality).
"It is important that knowledge about how to recognize and repel predatory behavior is delivered to children in grades K-5 so they can protect themselves," said Michael A. Bennett, president, Honeywell Hometown Solutions, the company's corporate citizenship initiative and sponsor of KidSmartz®. "The new lessons will help us deliver this critical information to children nationwide."
KidSmartz® uses videos, music and classroom activities to teach personal safety to children. KidSmartz® materials are available in English and Spanish and are easily downloadable for free at www.KidSmartz.org. The language is age-appropriate and the message can be delivered in an interactive, non-threatening way.
The new lesson plans expand on the safety rules at the core of the KidSmartz® program:
Take a Friend
Tell People "NO"
Tell a Trusted Adult
For more information, visit KidSmartz® on Facebook and Twitter.
About the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
Since 1984, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® has served as the leading private, nonprofit organization helping to find missing children, reduce child sexual exploitation and prevent future victimization. As part of its work as the clearinghouse and resource center on issues relating to missing and exploited children, NCMEC operates a hot-line, 1-800-THE-LOST® (1-800-843-5678), and has assisted in the recovery of more than 277,000 missing children. NCMEC also operates the CyberTipline®, a mechanism for reporting suspected child sexual exploitation, which has received more than 38 million reports since it was created in 1998. To learn more about NCMEC, visit www.missingkids.org or see NCMEC on Twitter and Facebook.
About Honeywell Hometown Solutions
KidSmartz®, the "next generation" of Got2BSafe!, is part of Honeywell Hometown Solutions, the company's corporate citizenship initiative, which focuses on five areas of vital importance: Science & Math Education, Family Safety & Security, Housing & Shelter, Habitat & Conservation, and Humanitarian Relief. Together with leading public and non-profit institutions, Honeywell has developed powerful programs to address these needs in the communities it serves. For more information, please visit http://citizenship.honeywell.com/.
South China Morning Post
The groundbreaking film, which is based on accounts of real-life systemic child sexual abuse at a deaf school in South Korea, helped raise awareness of a taboo subject in the traditionally conservative country.
Around the same time in 2016, her classmate Yang Xihang, 18, came across numerous news reports of children being sexually assaulted by their teachers and could not stop reading about the victims’ ordeals.
Inspired to move others against a serious and prevalent issue that parents and authorities in China often try to sweep under the carpet, Wang and Yang decided to set up an anti-child sexual abuse education programme in their hometown of Changshu.
The pair said they were deeply moved by the testimony of abuse survivors found on Chinese social media.
When she first started researching the issue, Wang said she found very few high-profile Chinese experts on the topic. Moreover, there was little reporting on the subject by the news media.
“It almost seemed like child sexual abuse wasn’t an issue in China,” she said.
However, such stories have made headlines more frequently in recent years, with a child sexual abuse scandal involving teachers at an upscale Beijing kindergarten (2nd story on link) last November among the highest-profile cases.
But Wang said she initially faced resistance from parents and teachers who believed that sexual abuse was not widespread. Even her own father was puzzled over her desire to make this issue her cause, she said.
“The scariest part is not that nobody is aware of the problem; it’s that nobody thinks it’s a social problem,” she said. “So when children seek protection and want to speak up, nobody is willing to listen.”
Luckily, the pair discovered Girls’ Protection, an NGO set up by former women journalists that provides lesson plans and other invaluable resources for raising awareness of child sexual abuse and how to prevent it.
“Xueying initially suggested [we] create a website and an official account on WeChat to propagate knowledge on anti-child sexual abuse,” Yang said. “I then recalled that our school’s peer counsellor programme had professionals train students to be student counsellors and help other students.
“So we contacted Girls’ Protection in order to get trained by them.”
With a group of close friends, the duo organised weekly screenings of Silenced at their school, United World College Changshu China, to raise awareness of their project. They also mass-emailed the student body to recruit new members for their cause.
They have whittled the respondents down to 50 people through interviews, and divided them into five “departments”: volunteer teachers who give anti-sexual abuse classes at local schools, publicity, external relations, finance and lobbying.
“We and our friends took almost half a year to successfully form our organisation, because we encountered a lot of obstacles,” she said, explaining that some members had to leave because they did not share the project’s values.
So far, the volunteers have taught thousands of children to be on guard against abusers in the local area.
Wang and Yang hope to expand the project to reach more locations around the country. They are currently training female teachers at a network of rural schools via an online video link, and replicate their organisation’s model at other schools. Guidelines from Girls’ Protection state that the teachers giving anti-sexual abuse classes using their lesson plans must be female.
Rural areas are where children are the most likely to suffer sexual abuse, Yang said. Left-behind children whose parents have migrated to urban areas in search of work are particularly at risk, according to a 2017 report from Girls’ Protection.
In July, a 56-year-old male teacher in rural Yunnan province was detained by police on suspicion of sexually assaulting six children at his primary school.
Wang Xiaorong, a teacher at the Changshu Southeast Experimental Primary School, whose students heard a talk by Wang Xueying in April, said seeing “the effective interactions between Project HOPE teachers and students” was extremely satisfying.
Student Yuan Siyu, 12, said the lecture increased her understanding of “the importance of preventing sexual abuse” and how to guard against it.
Reliable data on child sexual abuse rates is hard to come by in China, owing to a lack of official nationwide surveys. However, the largest academic study of its kind, which polled over 18,000 teenagers in urban and rural regions, found that around one in 13 school-age adolescents in China had experienced sexual abuse.
Of course, this also is inadequate as many of the teenagers would not likely have reached the age of 18 yet, and many victims are will not report for a great variety of reasons. The majority of child sex abuses are never reported to anyone.
A 2017 Girls’ Protection study found that 1.04 cases were reported in the media per day on average, but the real number of occurrences was estimated to be up to eight times higher.
“Confucian culture is strong so it’s awkward to talk about sex,” Wang said. “Parents and teachers will rarely discuss this knowledge with children from an early age.” As a result, she said, children remain ignorant as to the real definition of sexual abuse – unwanted sexual contact acted upon one person by another.
“Children don’t know how to draw the line between sexual abuse [and other behaviours],” Wang said. “So as a result, if a child experiences sexual abuse, they may not recognise it as serious or as sexual abuse, so they would not tell their teachers or parents.”
The age of consent in China is 14 years old, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
Project HOPE is working with the local government education bureau and the Women’s Federation to reform existing child sexual abuse laws, including the proposed release of sex offenders’ personal information to the public – similar to the convicted sex offenders’ registry in Britain and Ireland.
They are also lobbying the National Congress in Changshu and the nearby city of Suzhou to make compulsory anti-sexual abuse prevention education part of the national curriculum.
Wang is reluctant to discuss the project’s links with the global #MeToo movement that is currently sweeping China, since her organisation specialises in child sexual abuse, rather than the issues of rape and sexual consent between adults.
But the two projects share one similarity: both encourage survivors of child sexual abuse to speak out and defend their rights.
“We hope that children will be brave enough to report sexual abuse, when facing it, to their parents and not keep it secret,” she said. “In this way, the reporting rate will rise and more children will become braver and speak out.”
God bless you guys; you are doing a wonderful thing!
On Child Sexual Abuse
Posted by Our Voix in Child Sexual Abuse
Our Voix, a youth-led organization which provides free preventive workshops on Child Sexual Abuse, organised a stage play named “Hota Rehta Hai” on awareness of child sexual abuse on 17 August at the Lok Kala Manch. The play focused on the attitude of the society toward the cause and ignorance among them. It was organised in association with “NATYA USTAAD”, a Delhi-based theater and an active cultural group which is committed to the development of innovative and socially relevant shows. People from different fields such as psychologists, lawyers, journalists, consultants, professors, bloggers, among many others attended the event.
During the event, Megha Bhatia, the founder of Our Voix, talked about the magnitude of child sexual abuse and its impact. She said, “It is imperative to teach children about Safe and Unsafe touch.”
The Founder of Natya Ustaad, Arunansh Shokeen says, “We believe in Entertainment with Reality.”
Around 170 people who attended this heart-touching stage play were left teary-eyed. “The show was a perfect balance of knowledge humour and emotions. It is not just the responsibility of these artists. We as a society should take a stand for the safety of the future of our Nation”, said a viewer.
In India, every second child is sexually abused, and more than 90% of cases of sexual assault with children go unreported. In such a scenario, Our Voix is working to prevent child sexual abuse. They conduct primary prevention workshops on Child Sexual Abuse for children, teachers, parents and Youth. Within eight months they have reached out to 8000+ children through their workshops and have volunteer base in Canada, US, UK, and across different states in India. They are currently conducting workshops in MCD schools in Karol Bagh Zone and aiming to cover 90+ schools.
Their workshops help parents to break the hesitation and provide them with the correct knowledge about a topic which is swept under the carpet in our society. Women are re-empowered and given tools to empower their children and other women too. Their focus is to prevent abuse before it occurs.
The organisation is the brainchild of Megha Bhatia who holds an LLM degree specialisation in Human Rights from University College London. Our Voix team comprises of Consultants, professors, psychologists, journalists, etc. The aim is to make childhood safe again.
It is rightly said by John Caldwell Holt, American author, that “Modern childhood is no more a happy, safe and innocent place for our children due to increasing cases of abuse”. However, Our Voix is working to prevent CSA and protect the rights and dignity of children from getting shattered.
If you are a survivor, parent or guardian who wants to seek help for child sexual abuse, or know someone who might, you can dial 1098 for CHILDLINE (a 24-hour national helpline) or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call NGO Arpan on their helpline 091-98190-86444, for counselling support.
A child is sexually abused every 10 seconds in the U.S. – that amounts to more than 86,000 reports each day.
More than 2,000 of those children were helped by Bivonia Child Advocacy Center last year in Rochester. That's why the center has teamed up with Causewave community partners to put a stop to abuse.
The Be Brave for Kids campaign was created to bring an awareness to child sexual abuse. Marisol Ramos-Lopez, a survivor of child sexual abuse knows first-hand how important this is.
“It doesn't matter how wealthy you are or how poor you are, it doesn't matter how much education you have or don't,” said Ramos-Lopez. “This is an issue that is impacting everyone.”
She joined the Be Brave committee to ensure that child sexual abuse is talked about. “So that children feel the openness to talk to their parents, but also that adults know how to report it, know the signs and know the questions to ask.”
This summer, the coalition launched a new website that shows what signs to look for. Portions of the site are geared towards adults that work with children in schools.
“We really want to make sure that those individuals are keenly aware of the dynamics of sexual abuse and what their role is in protecting children is,” said Deb Rosen.
The site is 100 percent confidential and anonymous also if your on the site and you quickly need to exit, maybe because you believe the abuser is in the home. They set it up so you can just press escape and you're out.
Todd Butler with Causewave community partners says this website will give parents the tools and resources to do the right thing. “If you have a suspicion but your not ready to call child protective services or your not ready to dial 911 that resources like this brand new website that we've just launched are there for you.”
One in 10 children are sexually abused before their 18th birthday. They hope this initiative will not only raise the awareness but in time decrease those odds.
A group of survivors whose childhood sexual abuse was recorded and, in many cases, distributed online is calling on Canada and its global intelligence allies to do more to end the spread of child sexual abuse imagery.
The group of 11 women, called the Phoenix 11, was formed through a series of survivor meetings organized by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection and the U.S.-based National Center for Missing and Exploited Children over the past year.
"We are the Phoenix 11. Sexually abused as children, reduced to child sex abuse images, and stripped of our dignity and humanity, we have risen together as powerful young women who are retaking our identities and self-worth," the group said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
"No longer content to live in the shadows, we are redefining what it means to be victims who were powerless to stop the relentless onslaught of the technology of abuse."
On behalf of the group, the Canadian and U.S. centres sent letters to officials in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the U.S. and the United Kingdom — the countries that make up the tight-knit security and intelligence partnership known as the Five Eyes — ahead of their meeting in Australia this month.
The letter focused on the rights of the survivors to demand the speedy removal of the images of their sexual abuse from the internet and calling for programs to help victims recover or escape abusive circumstances.
"If you can imagine, these young women were silenced, and we know child sexual abuse thrives in secrecy. These were women who were so terrified to talk about their experiences and their ongoing trauma," said Lianna McDonald, executive director of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, based in Winnipeg.
"Unlike other historical abuse scenarios, because of the trading component and the distribution, their past is their present. Their trauma continues."
Governments to tackle 'grave threats'
On Wednesday, ministers from the Five Eyes countries issued a joint statement saying they're as committed to tackling online threats as physical ones, and stating governments "must escalate government and industry efforts to stop widespread transmission of child sexual exploitation material."
"Our citizens expect online spaces to be safe, and are gravely concerned about illegal and illicit online content, particularly the online sexual exploitation of children. We stand united in affirming that the rule of law can and must prevail online," the statement says.
The statement also called on the digital online industry to take urgent action.
A spokesperson for Public Safety Canada said ministers agreed to establish a senior officials group to monitor industry progress on a quarterly basis.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale met with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection earlier this month, the spokesperson said in an email.
"Online child sexual exploitation disproportionately affects girls. It's an abhorrent and horrific crime, and victims often suffer devastating and long-lasting consequences," the spokesperson wrote.
"We applaud the courage of Phoenix 11 for standing up to those who exploited them and advocating for change. We fully agree with them that more needs to be done and have been hard at work on the challenge."
McDonald said she still tears up when she reads the Phoenix 11 statement. "I think because for years doing this work we … bear witness to the actual trauma and abuse of children being victimized," she said.
"And to watch this first generation come together, band together, become mobilized and really put the world on notice that they're not going to take it anymore — it's very, very powerful."
Phoenix 11 Advocacy Impact Statement:
For a long time we were afraid. We were afraid of the dark, we were afraid of the unknown, we were afraid of our past and what it meant for our future. Alone, isolated, yet exposed to the world, we knew there were others like us out there, yet we were scared to confront their pain because of what they understood about our pain.
Last year we all took a bold step to overcome the fears about ourselves, to band together to become a force for change. To speak for all those who cannot speak for themselves. To make the invisible visible. To make the two dimensional three dimensions.
We are the Phoenix 11. Sexually abused as children, reduced to child sex abuse images, and stripped of our dignity and humanity, we have risen together as powerful young women who are retaking our identities and self-worth.
No longer content to live in the shadows, we are redefining what it means to be victims who were powerless to stop the relentless onslaught of the technology of abuse.
We are survivors of sexual torture, child rape, erotic photoshoots, pedophile sleepovers, elementary school sex shows, streaming BDSM, and twisted sexual desires whose digital images are trafficked worldwide to fulfil the endless needs of an evil perverted community which takes pleasure from our pain.
Now we are putting the world on notice that we will no longer be a silent suffering collage of young girls and boys whose nameless and often faceless images and videos circulate worldwide in the internet cesspool of humanity.
We are the Phoenix 11.
Hear our voice.
See our strength.
Answer our call.
We will not be stopped.
We will not be silent.
For so many of us, a simple touch can convey so many different things. When my dad keeps a hand on my shoulder, I know he wants me to feel protected. When a stranger in the bus pokes me from behind, he is just signalling that he needs me to move aside.
However, when we are clicking photographs at a family gathering, the behaviour of the uncle who stands next to me and caresses my back is repulsive and nauseating.
Statistics suggest that there is a high probability that everyone has faced such a situation at least once in their life. Sexual harassment can happen to anyone at any age, and it is especially disturbing for young children who know in their hearts that they are experiencing something “bad” but are not quite sure about how to articulate or address it.
Saroj Kumari, an IPS officer who works as Deputy Commissioner of Police in Vadodara, Gujarat is on a mission to arm children with the confidence to fight against sexual harassment.
She is doing this by going to schools and teaching children about appropriate and inappropriate touching.
The Better India spoke to the DCP about her initiative, Samajh Sparsh Ki (Understanding a touch).
“We write a letter to schools and approach them with the SSK sessions, and focus on students between the ages of 5 to 15 years. Then we discuss a timing with the school when the parents are around as well so that the conversation becomes more wholesome. We speak to the parents very seriously. We tell them about criminal offences, what measures they can take if their child complains of sexual harassment and how they can open a conversation with their kids about the same,” she informed TBI.
The teachers are told to look out for behavioural differences or signals—like a talkative child who suddenly becomes withdrawn and quiet for example. With the children, it’s more of fun and games. The team of IPS officers give them chocolates and goody bags during the session and make the atmosphere fun.
“We don’t even utter the word ‘crime’ in the presence of children as it might scare them and our motto is to make them comfortable enough to open up about their experiences, not bottle them up further. We also never mix the group of parents, teachers and students. Each group requires a unique and different type of treatment, and we give them that,” the IPS officer told us.
Saroj has established a team of 12 members to carry out the mission of SSK. They are all policewomen, trained in gender sensitisation and have already spoken to about 2000 kids in 20 different schools in Gujarat.
Their very first step was to change their uniform, as they genuinely wanted to be more approachable. Suraksha Setu Societies operating in Gujarat are aiding the policewomen’s cause by supporting them financially.
I asked the DCP what exactly do they tell the children to do if they encounter such a situation.
She gave me the following examples—
“We tell them that if a senior in school, especially of the opposite gender, or a teacher, asks that they accompany them to say, a toilet or a dark area, they must firmly refuse to do so. If they encounter a person touching them inappropriately in a public space, they must shout ‘NO!’ and alert others immediately. We encourage them to tell their parents about such incidents, or a trusted adult so that immediate action can be taken against the offender.”
The 12-member team has already helped many children come ahead with their stories of harassment. Some speak about women harassing them on a bus, and some recalled experiences of being sexually assaulted at wedding ceremonies and family gatherings.
“I have come across some heart-wrenching anecdotes from these students. If we feel that there is a need and the situation is grim, a psychologist is roped in to help the student move on from that ugly incident, and if the situation is very recent, we even take immediate action against the offender.
The idea is not only to inform and educate them but also help them overcome memories which will only cause suffering in the future,” the IPS officer told The Better India.
The children are also taught to call 1098—the children’s helpline that can take action against the offenders. The motive of the SSK initiative is to bring cases of child sexual harassment to the fore and create an open dialogue so that the kids no longer feel like mute victims.
Initiated in Vadodara and Surat, the team wishes to take these sessions to more schools in Gujarat. “We encourage the students to not only remember what we said in the sessions but also to convey it to five of their friends. Some children tell me that even their parents don’t know what good touch and bad touch is. So I say, ‘tell your parents too!'”
Thanks to initiatives like these, victims of sexual harassment now know that they have strong support by their side. Not only will this make them confident to confront the people who harass or offend them, but they will also be empowered to take steps to stop them right there!
Excellent! So proud of you guys.