Working to Keep Kids Safe — One Purple Outfit at a Time
The old adage "it takes a village to raise a child" is transformed each October to "it takes a village to keep kids safe." It's all part of Child Prevention Abuse Month. And don't be surprised if on October 24, you see more purple outfits than you usually do. The day has been designated Dress Purple Day — a Child Prevention Abuse Month initiative from Children's Aid Societies and boards of education — designed to bring awareness to supporting the safety and well being of children and youth.
Here are some facts about this important month-long initiative.
What is Abuse?
According to the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies (OACAS), abuse of children can be categorized into four main areas: physical, neglect, emotional and sexual. The first includes a deliberate physical force or action by a parent or caregiver that results or could result in injury to the child. Neglect is defined as a caregiver failing to provide basic needs such as food, safety, education or medical treatment. Emotional abuse occurs when a child's emotional development and sense of self-worth are attacked. Sexual abuse, meanwhile, is defined as an adult or older child using a child for sexual gratification.
Child Abuse Facts
According to the 2013 Ontario Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect, in Ontario, 48 per cent of child maltreatment occurs when children are exposed to intimate partner violence. Another 24 per cent is documented as neglect. Thirteen percent occurs as physical abuse with another 13 percent occurring as emotional abuse. And the remaining two per cent is sexual abuse.
Child Abuse Prevention Month
October has been designated as the month during which OACAS and Children's Aid Societies raise awareness about how to identify and help prevent child abuse. Educating communities and key partners about how calling a Children's Aid Society is one of the most effective ways to prevent child abuse is a key goal of the campaign. The Dress Purple Day initiative encourages community members across the province such as Children's Aid Societies, social service agencies, boards of education, police and local business owners to dress in purple to show their commitment to keeping kids safe from abuse and neglect. Schools are encouraged to take part and lesson plans are available for teachers.
If initiatives like this one make you want to take action and get involved, you may want to consider Centennial College's Child and Youth Care program. The three-year offering provides students with knowledge of: prevention and early intervention strategies, assessment and treatment, and counselling to children and adolescents who may be in crisis, struggling with psychological challenges or who are dealing with other stressful situations. Grads of this program become valuable members of the mental health profession.
By Izabela Szydlo