YMCAs promote child protection during National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Sean Brady - Photographer

The YMCA of Western Monmouth County will observe The Five Days of Action from April 16-20, designed to raise awareness and inspire adults to take action to protect children from sexual abuse.

On April 16, the YMCA of Western Monmouth County – the Freehold Y, the Freehold Borough Y, the Old Bridge Y, the Hightstown-East Windsor Y in Hightstown and Camp Topanemus in Millstone – and the YMCA Guardians for Child Protection, with support from the YMCA of the USA, Darkness to Light, the Redwoods Group Foundation, and Praesidium, have made materials available to help adults learn more about preventing sexual abuse. Download a printable commitment card at www.ymcanj.org/5-days-of-action/.

On April 17, decide to be present in the moment by putting aside distractions and observing interactions between your child and others. Take notice of anything that makes you uncomfortable and be brave enough to speak up.

On April 18, take time to tell your child it’s OK to say “no,” even it it is to an adult. Tell them they can tell you anything and that you believe them. Make sure your child understands that no matter what has happened, they can share with you without fear of being blamed.

On April 19, organizations should have a clear Code of Conduct for staff, volunteers and older youth who work with children. If rules are missing, suggest them. Is the Code of Conduct tailored to the environment? Does it cover appropriate touch and one-on-one interactions? What happens if an individual violates the code?

On April 20, talking openly about personal safety creates a protective bond between parent and child. Become the “go-to-parent” and open lines of communication. Teach your child proper names for body parts. Children who are educated about their bodies are better protected from sexual abuse. Find out how to have a talk about body safety and a checklist of how to start this conversation at www.fivedaysofaction.org.

 

For more information and resources to keep children safe, visit www.ymcanj.org/5-days-of-action/.