Tag Archive for: Education

The importance of prevention

By Bailey Martineau

The Importance of Prevention:

Welcome to prevention education. We’re so glad that you have found us! You may be wondering what ‘prevention education’ is and why is it important for you, your children, grandchildren, and all school children.  Well, you have come to the right place!  This blog will explore the importance of prevention, why we provide prevention education, and why it is needed in our schools.

If you are new to Central Alberta, CASASC has a dedicated education team that specializes in the prevention of childhood sexual abuse. You can find more information about our programs and/or book us to deliver our program to your organization at education@casasc.ca.

Now, on to explaining the importance of prevention.

As a former preschool teacher, I witnessed firsthand the impact of sexual abuse on a child. Children under the age of five do not have the developmental ability to discern when someone’s motives are insincere or when someone is lying.  So, if they feel uncomfortable with something that has happened to them, they typically will tell someone they trust.  These ‘disclosures may occur during, dramatic play, reading a book, or even during one-on-one time. Students usually came to me during free play time, when colouring, or just quietly reading books – and they would share what happened that is making them uncomfortable.  Oftentimes, nothing needed to be said as it was clear in the child’s demeanor when dropped off at school by their guardian.  As adults who know and understand the signs of abuse, we need to be the voice and advocate for children who don’t understand what is happening to them.

If you are fortunate enough to have a child trust you enough that they come to you and tell you something that happened to them, you should feel honoured; this means that you are a safe person for that child. No need to feel scared. That child chose you to help them! Having an understanding of prevention is so important so you know how you can do to help that child.

The signs of childhood sexual abuse are not always obvious and as a result, it is important to learn the signs and symptoms so that early action can be taken, thereby ending or preventing abuse.

Prevention is important to everyone – and the best prevention is education.  We make sure everyone is aware of the elements of body safety. Children need to understand what consent is and how to impose body boundaries that they are comfortable with.  Prevention education empowers everyone in positive ways.

Have you ever wondered about the steps involved in prevention education?  Following are some steps that we, as a community, can take.

  1. Act: Do something. As a community, we need to act. If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering what you can do to prevent childhood sexual abuse. We must counteract it with kindness, grace, practice, and most importantly, believing the child/youth if they come to talk to you about it. If you know – or even suspect – childhood sexual abuse, it’s your responsibility (and the law!) to report it immediately.
  2. Join Forces: Reach out to non-profits in your community who talk and teach about sexual abuse – churches, schools, libraries, and other civic groups – to get involved in prevention programs.
  3. Support the victim: Believe the victim. Report when necessary. Offer support, empathy, and kindness. Let them know they are not alone. Help to find resources to start the healing journey.
  4. Educate Yourself: Programs like ours help children, youth and adults understand body boundaries, consent, relationships, and safe or unsafe adults. We give them a voice and the tools to prevent sexual abuse.
  5. Speak up: Let’s give childhood sexual abuse a voice. Let’s stop it in its tracks. The more we talk about it, learn, and educate, the less likely abuse can happen. Prevention begins with each one of us!

Prevention strategies aim to stop violence before it occurs by addressing the way individuals, relationships, community, and societal factors impact interpersonal violence.

Given my past experiences, I am impassioned to ensure everyone is educated on the prevention of sexual abuse.  My hope is that, as a community, we can use these steps to recognize, act, and prevent sexual abuse in our community.

Why Prevention Education?

This is where we take social action through prevention education:

Prevention education builds confidence, critical thinking skills and helps prepare children and youth for potentially dangerous situations in the real world. We should teach children and youth assertive skills so they can respond appropriately and say “no!” when necessary.

Prevention education also requires that children and youth know what a safe adult is and where a safe adult is allowed within their body boundary.

Here is a question for you what makes a safe adult? How do children and youth know that a specific adult is safe to be around?  Are you, as the adult, able to respond to this question? Do you think your child or grandchild understands this? If not, it’s time to have a conversation about safe adults.

Another question to think about: Do you know what a body boundary is?

In our prevention program, we discuss and have related activities on body boundaries. What touches are allowed in each bubble? Our No Secrets program teaches that “no one should look at, no one should touch, and no one should take pictures of our private parts.” If this rule is broken, our prevention education teaches the skills of “no, go, tell” – say “no” loudly, go somewhere safe and tell a safe adult what happened.

We also teach that a doctor should be one of the only people that can look at or touch us in order to keep us healthy – but only with our permission and consent.

Research shows that elementary age children are not developmentally able to lie, so it’s important that if a child says someone has touched them inappropriately, adults believe them.

Our program also teaches the importance of learning the correct body part names as when children and youth are familiar and comfortable with body part names, they can tell a safe adult what happened and there is no misunderstanding.

We want children and youth to feel empowered when it comes to their bodies and boundaries. Our program, like any other prevention education program on sexual abuse, is not sex education; rather it is a prevention program to ensure children and youth are equipped with tools to stop an act before it happens and to educate about right from wrong and what is (or is not) appropriate.

Why is Prevention Education Needed in Schools?

Just like learning how to do a fire drill or a lock down, children need to learn and understand how to keep their bodies safe. Teaching these concepts in an age-appropriate classroom setting with peers fosters autonomy and self-esteem.

Bailey Martineau is a prevention educator at the Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre.

NEW Session- What happens on a sexual violence help line?

What happens on a 24/7 Sexual Violence Helpline? (60 min)

Join us for an informal session about operating and volunteering on a 24/7 sexual violence helpline.

Supported by volunteers with CASASC and available by phone, text and webchat to anyone in Alberta, the help line provides support to anyone impacted by sexual violence (direct or indirect) and is a resourcing and support service.

Use this opportunity to learn about the help line and how you can utilize it in your community/workplace. Hear what it takes to volunteer on a help line. Help us share this free resource out to our community. We are here for you.

Free, register here

Upcoming dates:

Tue, Oct 18 – 6:00-7:00pm MST

Education Program receives Inspiration Award

The CASASC Education Program is the recipient of a provincial award recognizing leadership in sexual violence prevention.

CASASC Education team members attended the 2022 Inspiration Awards ceremony in Calgary on June 24.

A total of ten Inspiration Awards were presented by the Ministry of Community and Social Services to individuals and groups for their leadership in ending family violence and abuse in communities across the province. Awards recognized leadership in preventing family violence, sexual violence, child abuse and bullying.

The awards were presented by Jason Luan, Minister of Community and Social Services with the Honourable Lois Mitchell acting as Master of Ceremonies.

CASASC received its’ program award for showing leadership in sexual violence prevention.

“Having to adapt to COVID realities, in October 2020 the education program underwent a complete revision of all programming, developing content to virtual teaching modalities and adapting to meet the needs of in-person teaching dynamics,” said Lois Mitchell at the ceremony. “The CASASC Education Program grew in the following months from one solidified program into five formal school offerings for Grades K-12, with full availability to schools and community starting September 2021.

“Through the expansion of programs and age-appropriate content and topics, the education program has contributed to the enhanced awareness and prevention of sexual violence and the creation of healthy relationships for all schools within central Alberta. Offering programs at no-cost and either virtual of in-person delivery models, the education program helps to reduce barriers to their programs and are quickly becoming a recognized and recommended sources for primary prevention programming.”

The CASASC Education Program is a prevention-focused program designed to prevent sexual violence in the central Alberta region. It is the home of educational programming like No Secrets K-4 and Healthy Dating Relationships 101. The team currently consists of five educators who completed 477 presentations in the 2021-2022 school year.

This is the second Inspiration Award received by CASASC. In 2018, CASASC received a group leadership award for offering innovative and comprehensive programs and services.

Education Learning Series 2022

Services + Programs at CASASC (30 min)

Join us for a short 30min session overviewing the programs and services available at CASASC.

– Counselling 

– Police, Community + Court Support 

– Kinship Intervention Program (KIP) 

– 24/7 Sexual Violence Help Line 

– Prevention Education, school presentations for K-12 

Free, Register here

Upcoming dates:

Wed, Oct 19 – 9:00-9:30 am MST

 

Introduction to Sexual Violence (60 min)

Do you want to enhance your knowledge around sexual violence education? Join us as we present an Introduction to Sexual Violence. This presentation is a public awareness and education presentation that introduces, and highlights, definitions and concepts related to sexual violence. We will discuss dispelling myths and stereotypes, talk about victim blaming, the realities of sexual violence, and a brief understanding of supporting disclosures. 

Free, Register here

Upcoming dates:

Fri, Oct 14 – 1:00-2:00 pm MST

 

Consent 101 (60 min)

Join us as we overview basics about Consent and Consent to Sexual Activity, key focus on Consent conversations as it relates to our youth and young people. This program can help you talk about consent with youth and can also help us understand the role of consent in healthy relationships. Definitions, laws + ages of consent, sexting and healthy intimate partner relationships will be some of the information covered. 

Free, Register here

Upcoming dates:

Wed, Sept 21 – 9:00-10:00 am MST

Wed, Sept 21 – 11:00am-12:00 pm MST

Wed, Oct 12 – 9:00-10:00 am MST

Wed, Oct 12 – 11:00am-12:00 pm MST

 

Supporting Disclosures – (45 min)

This session will help to enhance our skills and knowledge around supporting disclosures of sexual violence. An overview of the fundamentals of responding to and supporting disclosure of sexual assault and abuse from children, youth and adults. Learn some key messages and legal obligations when it comes to reporting child abuse.

Free, Register here

Upcoming dates: 

Wed, Oct 26 – 2:00-2:45 pm MST

The power of words in teen dating relationships

By Kailee Mears

With Valentine’s Day and Family Day behind us, we can reflect on how these holidays bring people closer together. Family Day is a day off for many to spend time with family. Valentine’s Day has grown into a day to celebrate love in many forms, including couples or friends.

What you may not have known is that the month of February was also Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM). TDVAM is meant to raise awareness of the different types of violence teenagers can experience within a dating relationship.

Statistics show that young people between the ages of 15 to 24 have the highest risk of experiencing dating violence.

Dating violence can involve physical abuse like hitting, slapping, pushing or kicking. It can also involve a type of violence called emotional violence.

Emotional violence is the use of words to hurt, intimidate, embarrass or harass a person. It is the most common type of dating violence and often comes before other types of violence. One study suggested that up to 62 per cent of 12 to 18 year old’s have experienced emotional violence while in a dating relationship.

While it may be easy to see the results of physical violence through injuries, it can be difficult to see how words can affect a person emotionally.

As youth grow up, one can expect to hear some version of “don’t let words get the better of you.” While it is important for youth to learn to become resilient, it is important for both youth and adults to recognize when a person’s words are truly harmful, especially when it comes to dating relationships.

One of the first steps you can take is to pay attention when someone is speaking and how their tone makes the youth and those around them, including yourself, feel.

Hearing something like “Why don’t you just shut up?” can make a person feel very small, scared and uncomfortable. Hearing “Oh come on. Everyone is doing it. Just try it once,” could have the effect like they are being pressured into doing something they don’t want to do.

Or even “Why didn’t you text me back? I texted you a lot. What were you doing? Who were you with?” can feel like being controlled by the person saying it – that we cannot do anything without replying to a text message right away or face some sort of punishment. Being independent in a relationship is important. We need to have time to ourselves and with others to maintain our relationships.

If you overhear something that makes you feel off or uncomfortable from the dating partner of a friend, co-worker or youth in your family, it is important to check in with that person. By asking that friend/co-worker/youth how they felt during that conversation and pointing out how you felt may make the youth more aware of how they may have been treated with disrespect. It could give the person a chance to reach out for help if they are uncomfortable with how their partner is speaking to them.

Words can be powerful. It is important for youth and adults to know that they deserve to be spoken to with respect, love and dignity, especially when it comes from a dating partner. If something does not sound right or makes someone feel scared, it is important to say something and seek help.

Kailee Mears is a prevention educator at the Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre.

Article as published in the Red Deer Advocate on March 1, 2022

 

Now Hiring Educator (Casual)

CASASC is seeking to fill the position of Educator – Casual

 

The job details are as below:

Position: Educator

Reports to: Education Program and Community Relations Manager

Number of positions: 1

Job Type: Casual

Location: Red Deer, AB & occasional daily travel to schools within Central Alberta

Hours per week: As and when required.

Hourly rate: Determined based on education and experience

Anticipated Start Date: ASAP

 

Position Summary

Reporting to the Education Program & Community Relations Manager, the Educator is an integral part of the Education team, responsible to support CASASC’s goal to increase the personal safety awareness through education and empowering them to prevent sexual violence.

Based on CASASC’s mission and vision, the Educator acts as a liaison between CASASC, Community, Schools, and Organizations, focusing on delivering education programs to create awareness and prevention strategies among K-12 students, adults, parents, professionals, and other individuals of the community.

The Educators are also expected to represent CASASC in a professional manner, work according to the missions and vision of CASASC and build community relations including (but not limited to) conducting community visits, attending meetings, staffing booths, and events organized by partner agencies and other organizations within Central Alberta.

The Educator is expected to have full knowledge of, and to follow the Philosophy, the Guidelines for Personnel Policies & Practices, and the Policies & Procedures of the CASASC while upholding our mission, vision, and values.

 

Qualifications and skills:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Education with 1-2 years of related experience. A combination of education and experience may also be considered for the position.
  • Must have knowledge and understanding of sexual violence prevention and intervention strategies. Experience of working in a non-profit would be considered as an asset.
  • Must have excellent communication, interpersonal, and public speaking skills.
  • Experience of working in, facilitating, or teaching in a classroom and/or group settings.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English is essential.
  • Ability to work as a collaborative team member as well as an independent key player with minimum supervision.
  • Ability to build rapport with children and youth from Kindergarten to Grade 12
  • Ability to relate to adults and professionals for the successful delivery of education and awareness information
  • Superior time management skills, and the ability to prioritize tasks with minimal supervision
  • Proficient using computers and presentation equipment (incl. basic troubleshooting) of virtual and presentation platforms (zoom, google meet, projector, and sound setup)
  • Proficient in Windows, MS-Office, Internet, email & social media is essential.
  • Availability to work occasional evenings/weekends for special events, be able to travel within Central Alberta to fulfil job responsibilities.
  • Should have professional, responsive, and positive work attitude
  • Must be able to submit a clear Criminal Record Check with Vulnerable Sector Screening.
  • A valid Driver’s License with a satisfactory Driver’s abstract is essential.
  • Should be able to fulfil the physical demands of the job such as the ability to lift at least 20lbs, climbing the stairs while carrying supplies, above-shoulder lifting, overhead reaching, frequent use of office equipment, sitting for longer periods and other relevant physical tasks.

 

Responsibilities:

  • Plan, prepare and deliver all CASASC education programs by providing interactive and dynamic presentations, and education material by using age-appropriate methods and activities, either in-person or virtual; in schools and communities throughout the CASASC service region.
  • Design and deliver tailored education programs as/if requested by the schools, community and/or other agencies within CASASC’s service region.
  • Participate in community public education forums and/or events to promote the awareness of sexual violence issues & CASASC services. (Attending interagency meeting, staffing booths and events, conducting community visits)
  • Update education programs statistics in the tracking program and submit monthly/quarterly/annual reports to facilitate grants and internal requirements.
  • Conduct regular research and keep education programs’ content up-to-date related to CASASC’s prevention education such as (but not limited to) sexual violence, teen dating, consent, healthy relationships, and any other program that supports CASASC’s mission and vision.
  • Ensure that Education department’s events and programs are posted on CASASC’s social media platforms by submitting relevant and timely information to the Education Program and Community Relations Manager. In the absence of the Manager, work in direct collaboration with the Communications Manager to ensure the same.
  • Keep the schools and community contact list up-to-date. Stay in regular contact with the schools and community through different mediums to ensure the regular delivery of education programs to the target audience.
  • Communicate with internal departments of the organization and share departmental updates on regular basis.
  • Connect with newly hired employees of the organization and briefly introduce them to the operations of Education Department.
  • Design tailored education programs to cater the needs of diverse community including the Indigenous Communities.

 

Team Responsibilities/Staff Development:

  • Adheres to the values and guiding principles, policies, and procedures of CASASC and supports the strategic direction of the organization.
  • Participates in staff meetings and offered trainings.
  • Acts as a responsible team member by demonstrating initiative, completing work duties, and by maintaining clear, direct, and respectful communication with everyone in the work environment.
  • Proactively stays current with best and emerging practices in the field. Participates regularly in the staff development activities according to a learning and development plan identified through supervision and the on-going performance review process.
  • Provides back-up coverage to CASASC as required in response to the needs and priorities of the organization which includes other duties as and when assigned.

 

Organizational Responsibilities: 

  • Maintains agency confidence and protects operations by keeping information confidential.
  • Represents CASASC in a professional manner.
  • Maintains on-going positive public relations with external agencies, groups, and individuals (if required).
  • Uses appropriate mechanisms for resolving internal agency problems.
  • Maintain professional relationship with internal and external stakeholders.

How to Apply:

CASASC is an equal opportunity employer, and we value the importance of diversity, dignity, and worth of every individual in the workplace.

Email your resume and cover letter to education@casasc.ca by Dec 21, 2021. Mention the position in the subject line.

We thank all applicants for their interest, however, only short-listed candidates will be contacted for interview.

Application deadline: Ongoing

iRespect Learning Series – Consent 101

Join us as we learn the basics about consent and consent to sexual activity. Find sessions targeted for youth (in Grades 7-12), adults/parents and the general public. Our targeted session we will explore the basics to consent and consent to sexual activity as it relates to youth. Definitions, laws & ages of consent, sexting and healthy intimate partner relationships.

The CASASC education team will be hosting five virtual presentations via Zoom throughout the months of August and September. Each session is 60 minutes long and is offered free-of-charge.

August Dates:

For adults/parents: To register to the August 10 – 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. session, visit the Eventbrite page here

For teens (Grades 7-12): To register to the August 10 – 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. session, visit the Eventbrite page here

General public: To register to the August 10 – 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. session, visit the Eventbrite page here

September Dates:

General public: To register to the September 14 – 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. session, visit the Eventbrite page here

For adults/parents: To register to the September 14 – 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. session, visit the Eventbrite page here

iRespect Learning Series – Intro to Sexual Violence

Want to enhance your sexual violence education?

The CASASC education team will be hosting three virtual presentations via Zoom in August and September. Each session is 90 minutes long and is offered free-of-charge.

The Intro to Sexual Violence presentation is a public awareness and education presentation that introduces and highlights definitions and concepts related to sexual violence. It provides an overview as well as disclosure support.

During the presentations we will discuss:

  • Sexual violence terms and definitions
  • Myths and facts about sexual violence
  • Dispelling victim blaming
  • Supporting disclosures

August Dates:

To register to the August 16 – 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. session, visit the Eventbrite page here

To register to the August 17 – 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. session, visit the Eventbrite page here

September Date:

To register to the September 20 – 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. session, visit the Eventbrite page here

iRespect Learning Series – Services + Programs at CASASC

Curious about what services CASASC offers?

The CASASC education team will be hosting six virtual presentations via Zoom throughout the months of August and September. Each session is 30 minutes long and is offered free-of-charge.

The Services + Programs at CASASC presentation is a public awareness and education presentation that provides an overview of our agency. Receive a birds-eye view of all of the services and programs available at CASASC including education, prevention, intervention, clinical and the 24 hours help line. Learn about who we serve and what our service area is.

August Dates:

To register to the August 9 – 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. session, visit the Eventbrite page here

To register to the August 9 – 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. session, visit the Eventbrite page here

To register to the August 9 – 2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. session, visit the Eventbrite page here

September Dates:

To register to the September 10 – 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. session, visit the Eventbrite page here

To register to the September 10 – 12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. session, visit the Eventbrite page here

To register to the September 10 – 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. session, visit the Eventbrite page here

iRespect Learning Series – CASASC Services + Intro to Sexual Violence

Curious about what services CASASC offers? Want to enhance your sexual violence education?

The CASASC education team will be hosting two virtual presentations via Zoom, on May 13 at 10:30 a.m. and May 19 at 1 p.m. Each session is 90 minutes long and is offered free-of-charge.

The Services + Intro to Sexual Violence presentation is a public awareness and education presentation that introduces and highlights definitions and concepts related to sexual violence. It provides an overview as well as disclosure support and of course, a birds-eye view of all services and programs available at CASASC.

During the presentations we will discuss:

  • Sexual violence terms and definitions
  • Myths and facts about sexual violence
  • Dispelling victim blaming
  • Supporting disclosures
  • CASASC service overview

To register to the May 13 session, visit the Eventbrite page here

To register to the May 19 session, visits the Eventbrite page here

This event is part of CASASC’s Respect Month – a month-long awareness campaign that acknowledges Sexual Violence Awareness Month through the concept of respect.