Remember the campaign in which Smokey Bear told everyone, “Only YOU can prevent wildfires”? You probably do, since 80% of American still recall Smokey and his message from the campaign begun in 1944. It helped millions of Americans realize their role in preventing wildfires and greatly reduced uncontrolled fires.
Now think about your role in another campaign to save precious lives, and consider how YOU can prevent child abuse. All of us can be a positive influence in a child’s life. At the very least, we all can help spread awareness and prevention essentials. (Hint: Start by sharing this article!)
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, the perfect time to focus on stopping child abuse BEFORE it begins.
Yes, preventing child abuse IS possible. It can be achieved through education, resources, and strengthening families and communities.
Education Is Key
The first line of defense is quality education. A great example is the evidence-based Childhelp Speak Up Be Safe program. This primary prevention curriculum is proven effective in raising awareness and building skills for PK-12 students to recognize and resist abuse and to speak up to a safe adult. It provides in-depth training for facilitators who then teach the lessons. Finally, it engages parents/caregivers with materials that raise awareness and help extend learning for kids beyond the lessons into everyday life.
Experts and policymakers alike agree that primary prevention works as one of the keys to preventing and stopping child abuse. A 2021 policy brief from the National Council on Family Relations (ncfr.org), titled Transforming Child Welfare: Prioritizing Prevention, Racial Equity, and Advancing Child and Family Well-Being, listed two of its six recommendations for policymakers as being “primary prevention” and “evidence-based interventions.”
The Childhelp Speak Up Be Safe program meets these needs. It is the first evidence-based primary prevention curriculum for all grades that covers safety planning, how to identify safe adults and get help, and various types of abuse (physical, emotion, sexual, neglect, bullying, cyberbullying and online predators).
If you are part of or have contacts at a school or an organization that serves kids or families, introduce them to the program. It’s as easy as referring them to www.SpeakUpBeSafe.org, or get in in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Empowering for Prevention
Childhelp is working to ensure our curriculum reaches as many kids as possible. We also strive continuously to raise awareness and help concerned adults address topics directly with the young people in their lives. This is the goal of materials like the “Helping Kids Speak Up & Be Safe” video series.
While Childhelp doesn’t have a friendly bear to spread the world about prevention education, we do have something a lot better to empower children: YOU!
For Child Abuse Prevention Month, we’ve added two new one-minute videos to help kids and families make a plan to stay safe. Share the links!
Written by Zuzana Urbanek, Program Manager, Curriculum