September 22, 2011
For Immediate Release
In our homes, our schools and our communities
WINNIPEG, MB: While recent news coverage - from stories on the Sparwood abduction to federal crime legislation - have made child personal safety a top-of-mind subject of late, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection is calling on all Canadians to use this as a catalyst to make the education of child personal safety a national priority.
"The safety and protection of our children deserves to be more than a week of headlines and tweets," said Lianna McDonald, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection. "It is not enough to merely talk about the issue or just criticize. Every single one of us has a role to play in the protection of Canada's children and it's time to step up and make the safety of our kids a national priority."
Noni Classen, Director of Education at the Canadian Centre, urged parents to regularly set time aside to talk to their kids and to teach them how to be safe. She urged educators at every grade level to use the Canadian Centre's Kids in the Know safety education program to empower students and build their competency in using safety strategies.
"This program uses effective and current research-based safety strategies to provide kids with the tools and skills they need to reduce their risk of victimization," said Classen. "It's the only one of its kind in Canada that spans kindergarten to high school that address both personal safety and sexual exploitation in real world and online environments. If we want to reduce our children's risk of victimization, then safety education must become an integrated part of their life."
Pointing to the more than 53,000 child sexual exploitation reports that have been received by Cybertip.ca, Classen said it is alarmingly clear that more must be done to increase the safety of Canada's children.
"Kids of all ages are at risk, and they face different risks at different ages - particularly as they explore the online world and new technologies," said Classen. "No community is free from individuals who want to abuse and exploit our children - the online world has made sure of that. We have to step up, do more and start making safety education an ongoing dialogue in our homes, our schools and in our communities."
The Kids in the Know program is used in numerous schools across Canada, and has recently been distributed by the Nova Scotia government to every school in that province. Each year the Canadian Centre for Child Protection also mails out more than a million pieces of educational safety materials free-of-charge to parents, schools, law enforcement and other stakeholders. Parents and teachers can access numerous free educational resources, safety strategies, interactive games and other age-specific safety activities by visiting the Canadian Centre's website (protectchildren.ca) or its Kids in the Know education program website (kidsintheknow.ca).
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