News and Media

POLICE HAVE A NEW TOOL IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CHILD SEX OFFENDERS

For immediate release
April 20, 2011

Partnership with ICE Units across the country will further protect children

WINNIPEG, MB - Integrated Child Exploitation (ICE) Units across Canada will have a new tool in their fight against child sex offenders when they receive the Canadian Centre for Child Protection's Commit to Kids program later this month. The program, designed to help child-serving organizations reduce the risk of child sexual abuse and create safer environments for the kids in their care, will be distributed to 50 ICE units across Canada.

Easy to use and adaptable for organizations of any size, the program provides a comprehensive risk-management approach that goes far beyond criminal record checks and child abuse registry checks. The program provides policies, strategies and a step-by-step plan for reducing the risk of child sexual abuse. Organizations learn to identify inappropriate behaviour that will help them to intervene early prior to abuse taking place. It also helps organizations more quickly identify, terminate and intervene if abuse has occurred.

"We know that those looking to offend against children often target child-serving organizations through employment and volunteer opportunities. We also know that the majority of these individuals do not have criminal records so any background checks that organizations do come up clean. Increased child protection measures are a must," said Lianna McDonald, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.

"Often when police are investigating allegations of child sexual abuse, these organizations ask what more they could have done to prevent abuse. Now police from these ICE units can educate organizations about the Commit to Kids program," added McDonald.

Earlier this year, the Canadian Centre partnered with the Toronto Police Service (TPS), running a public awareness campaign in the GTA promoting the Commit to Kids program. Since the vast majority of child sexual offenders have never come in contact with a police officer, the TPS is making it a priority to help raise awareness of what organizations should be doing to help keep kids safe.

"The Toronto Police Service has been very fortunate to work closely with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection," said Chief William Blair, Toronto Police Service. "Their Commit to Kids program will be an invaluable resource for officers across the country."

So far, the Commit to Kids program has been distributed free-of-charge to more than 11,000 child-serving Canadian organizations, through financial support from Public Safety Canada, Justice Canada and the Manitoba government. For more information on the program, parents and child-serving organizations are encouraged to visit commit2kids.ca. Parents can download a free copy of an informational card that provides three steps to help them select a child-safe organization. Organizations can download a free copy of the program overview guide and access a coupon to receive $25 off the purchase cost of the program. (Coupon offer valid until April 29, 2011.)

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BACKGROUNDER: COMMIT TO KIDS

COMMIT TO KIDS CAN HELP ORGANIZATIONS:

  • Prevent child sexual abuse through increased awareness and education
  • Evaluate risks that exist
  • Teach employees/volunteers (who will then teach children) the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behaviour
  • Provide employees/volunteers with specific strategies on how to prevent abuse
  • Design programs that focus on child safety and supervision
  • Establish clear boundaries between employees/volunteers and children
  • Ensure that allegations of sexual abuse are handled in a sensitive, timely and effective manner
  • Understand their legal obligations to report child sexual abuse to a child welfare and/or law enforcement agency
  • Ensure the highest standard of practice when working with children

 

THE COMMIT TO KIDS PROGRAM INCLUDES:

  • A training kit for organizations, including information on: child sexual abuse; risk assessment and management; creating and enforcing a code of conduct for employees/volunteers; reporting disclosures of sexual abuse and addressing inappropriate behaviour; and policies on hiring, supervising, and training
  • A 30-minute training video and presentations for employees, volunteers, and parents
  • A sample child protection manual, complete with draft policies and procedures, that can easily be amended to suit the needs of individual organizations
  • A guide for parents that teaches them about the issue of child sexual abuse and helps them choose safe programs for their children
  • Supplemental tools such as reporting cards, website information, checklists and worksheets, and statistics

If you are a member of the media and would like to arrange an interview with one of our spokespeople please contact our communications team:

Communications, Canadian Centre for Child Protection

Phone:
204-945-8074
204-801-2979 (Cell)

Email:
communications@protectchildren.ca