SEMO NASV provides several programs for kids through adults to help recognize abuse, learn when to report and how, and much more. Programs like The Green Bear Project, Guide For Mandated Reporters and more allow us to take new steps in stopping abuse before it has a chance to manifest. Below, we’ve outlined some of our programs, as well as tips for you to use in your own educational process with your children.
A Guide for Mandated Reporters
Objectives: After completing this 2 hour course, mandated reporters will be able to:
- Discuss ways to prevent child abuse in schools, churches and civic organizations (establishing appropriate contact between students/teachers, becoming a role model to students, involving adolescents in building non-violent relationships, engaging men as allies, classroom supervision)
- Define child abuse and recognize the importance of Missouri’s mandated reporting laws
- Identify signs and symptoms of child abuse
- Discover the importance of the Multidisciplinary Teach Approach when dealing with suspected child abuse
- Perform a preliminary interview when child abuse is suspected
- Report, and document, suspected child abuse in Missouri to Missouri’s Child Abuse Hotline.
Target Audience: All Mandated Reporters in Missouri which includes
- All school personnel
- Police Officers including juvenile officers
- Counselors/social workers
- Clergy and their agents (Sunday School Teachers, church leaders and deacons/elders)
- Medical Personnel
- Foster parents
- Day care providers
- Anyone in Missouri who works with or around children
The Green Bear Program
The Green Bear Project was created in memory of Baby Ty, a 2 year old toddler who was tragically killed only 3 months after returning to his biological family from foster care. Baby Ty’s favorite toy while he was in foster care was a little stuffed green bear he affectionately called “Green Bear.” Just as Green Bear gave baby Ty comfort when he was scared or frightened, we want to comfort and care for children through our organization.
The Green Bear Program is a 30 minutes program created for students in pre-kindergarten through 5th grade which teaches students primary child abuse prevention. Parents are encouraged to attend this program with their children so they can talk with their children about what was learned during our class time. Our message to children is very simple:
- Our bodies are private. No one should hug you, kiss you or touch you where you do not want to be hugged, kissed or touched.
- If someone hugs, kisses or touches you where you do not want to be hugged, kissed or touched, it is OK to say, “NO!”, then we always tell a grownup.
- If someone touches you where you do not want to be touched, it is NEVER THE KID’S FAULT!
Primary abuse prevention is a very important part of our class; we discuss secrets vs. surprise, never accepting gifts without the permission of the person in charge, prevention of abduction situations, inherent dangers, etc.
Younger children (pre-kindergarten – 2nd grade) participate in a puppet show with Green Bear or Tiffy Bear. First and second grade students are also read a story about Meagan or Joey, two young characters who were touched where they did not want to be touched and received help. Older children, instead of the puppet show, complete age-appropriate fun books that discuss primary sexual abuse prevention.
Hugging, Kissing, Touching . . . And All That Other Stuff
This program was created for 6th, 7th and 8th grade students. In this multi-session (2-5 sessions) program, we not only talk with children about sexual abuse, but also discuss more mature topics regarding sexual assault/abuse prevention. Content includes:
- How to stay SAFE in predating situations (Say what you mean, Avoid secluded places, Forget alcohol and drugs, Encourage group outings)
- Internet dangers
- Sexual harassment and what to do if sexually harassed
- Date rape drugs and how to avoid them
- What is “grooming” and what to do if it occurs
- What to do if sexually abused/assaulted
After completing the course, students play a game entitled, “Surviving the Dating Game”, used to reinforce what was learned in class. Each student is asked to give their parents a handout on internet dangers for their parents to sign. If they bring the handout back to school, signed by parents, they will receive a “bonus point” for the game. Teachers are provided with a handout on protecting children from abuse.
Our parenting classes instruct parents on how to talk with kids about abuse, how to protect children from abuse, how to respond to a child who has reported abuse and how to report suspected abuse. Other topics we can discuss include:
- Positive Parenting
- During class time, we will discuss developing high self-esteem in children, recognizing and understanding your children’s feelings and engaging in effective communication with your children. Shaken Baby Syndrome, preventing child abductions and positive discipline will also be discussed.
- Protecting Children Online
- We will discuss the dangers on the internet through different types of communication – X Box, instant messaging, email, chat rooms, web sites and how to protect your children.
To schedule a class:
Call SEMO-NASV at (573) 332-1900
Here are some suggested tips for parents to put into place in their own home. Please contact us with any questions.
Under 18 Months
- Teach children the correct names for body parts. Many younger children are not able to talk about abuse because they do not know the correct words to use.
- Know who your child spends time with. If your child has a baby sitter, check on them at unexpected times to assess safety.
2 - 3 Years
- Teach about private parts of the body as well as the right to say, “NO!”, to unwanted touches. Tell children, “If someone hugs, kisses, touches or licks them where they do not want to be hugged, kissed, touched or licked, tell them, “NO!”, right away, then always tell a grown up.
- Do not encourage secret-keeping in your family. Teach children the difference between secrets and surprises.
4 - 7 Years
- Teach children that respect does not mean blind obedience to adults and authority. (For example do not tell children, “Always do what your teacher says.” Instead tell them, “You should do what your teachers says unless she tells you to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable or doesn’t seem right; if that happens tell another grown up right away!”)
- Play the “What if . . . ” game with your child. For example, What if . . . someone gives you a really cool present and gets you to try to keep it a secret from Mom and Dad. Should you? Then explain why it is so important that mom and dad know who gives you presents.
8 - 11 Years
- When your child starts overnight visits, discuss safety away from home. When your child returns home, encourage them to discuss any “scary” experiences. Before they go on their visit, let them know that if anything happens and they do not feel safe, they should contact you right away.
- By this time, your child should be aware of touches that are appropriate or inappropriate.
- Show interest in your child’s activities. Let him/her know that you are available to talk and listen! Allow your child to share thoughts and feelings with you.
- Children at this age are starting to go online. Discuss internet dangers and how to stay safe on the internet.
12 - 14 Years
- Discuss personal safety and sexual conduct.
- Discuss sexual abuse in detail and what it entails.
- Talk with your child about grooming situations and how to avoid them.
- Encourage middle school programs in your school on preventing sexual harassment.
- Reiterate the dangers on the internet.
15 - 17 Years
- Discuss date rape and how to avoid date rape drugs
- Inform your child of sexually transmitted diseases and how to avoid them.
- Discuss the prevention of unwanted pregnancies.