Enhancing Child Personal Safety at City Facilities: A First in Canada

Initiative by the City of Winnipeg to protect kids at pools, recreation and leisure centres and libraries

The City of Winnipeg is working on an initiative to enhance the protection and personal safety of children at City of Winnipeg aquatic, leisure and library facilities. With support from the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (Canadian Centre), the City of Winnipeg’s Community Services Department is developing a multi-phased plan to examine and enhance safety protocols, reporting procedures and staff training at city-run facilities to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation.

Through the operation of Cybertip.ca – Canada’s national tipline for reporting the online sexual abuse and exploitation of children – the Canadian Centre intersects daily with the reality that individuals who want to harm children will continue to find new tactics to use to exploit them.

By taking the proactive steps to create protective environments for children, the City of Winnipeg is leading the country, becoming the first urban municipality in Canada to work with the Canadian Centre on enhancing measures to prevent child sexual victimization in public facilities.

The first phase of the plan rolled out in summer 2016, with the enhancement of aquatic processes and procedures and tailored Commit to Kids training from the Canadian Centre for front-line staff, in addition to a public awareness campaign developed for facility patrons. Future phases involving leisure and recreation centres and libraries are expected over the next year.

We’re committed to kids

You can help us protect them from sexual exploitation and abuse

Notify facility staff of unusual behaviour

  • Taking pictures of children without permission
  • Phones/cameras in change rooms
  • Inappropriate comments or conversations
  • Other actions that make a reasonable observer uncomfortable

Practice the 5 Safety Habits for Life with your children

  1. Check first
    Teach children to always get permission from parents before going anywhere with anyone.
  2. Use the Buddy System
    Teach children that there is safety in numbers. They should always stick with someone they know (parents, friends) when going anywhere.
  3. Some secrets should be told
    Talk to children about the difference between KEEP and SPEAK secrets. Keep secrets are safe secrets like a surprise birthday party, a special gift, and can be kept until they come out. Speak secrets are unsafe secrets such as secrets about touching or secrets that don’t have an end and need to be told to a safe adult.
  4. Trust your instincts
    Teach children to pay attention to body signals that warn them of danger.
  5. Be assertive
    Talk to children about their right to set clear boundaries about personal space and touching. Teach them that they should expect others to respect these limits and they need to respect limits set by others.

Contact us for more information or to find out how you can better protect children in child-serving organizations and facilities!