child protection, holidays, nonprofit, parent resources, safety, Training, Uncategorized

Holiday Hulabaloo: Tips & Tricks for Keeping Kids Safe

Holidays are here, bringing joy, cheer, and lots of time with family and friends. While they are a great time for celebration, we at Baltimore Child Abuse Center also want to remind families that the holidays can also be a risky time for children. While there are no statistics saying that the risk for abuse increases at this time of year, circumstances surrounding the holidays make it easier for abuse to occur. Extended family and friends are in and out of our homes, kids are running around, and it is easy to be distracted by activities going on around us and lose sight of the safety of our children.

Here are some of BCAC’s tips and tricks for keeping your kids safe this holiday season:

  1. Don’t Force Hugs: Respect your child’s decision to protect their body and space.
  2. Create a Family Safety Plan: Print out BCAC’s family-safety-plan & complete it with your kids.
  3. Talk Body Safety: No matter the age, it is important to use developmentally appropriate language and help children understand boundaries. Try this video from our friends across the pond at NSPCC.
  4. Don’t Keep Secrets: Tell your children that there are no secrets kept in your family, and what they can do if someone asks them to keep a secret.

Remember that while the holidays are joyful and fun for most, they can also be stressful and risky time for children. Read the signs your child may be giving you, and stay in regular communication with them.

Wishing you a safe and happy holiday season,

Drew & all of BCAC

 

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Raise Your Voice for BCAC

Raise your voice for Baltimore Child Abuse Center (BCAC) and Children’s Advocacy Centers nationwide.

Funding for the Victims of Child Abuse Act is at risk.

The Federal budget deal that was just approved took $1.5 billion from the Crime Victims Fund/VOCA, which in turn, could impact the funding for the Victims of Child Abuse Act. CVF/VOCA funds are sustained by fines and fees levied against Federal criminal offenders, not your tax dollars, and 800 Child Advocacy Centers nationwide, including BCAC, rely on $20 million in funding for the Victims of Child Abuse Act to provide critical intervention services to children.

TELL THE HOUSE AND SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEES TO FULLY FUND THE VICTIMS OF CHILD ABUSE ACT.

BCAC was able to help over 1,000 child victims of abuse, trauma, and Adverse Childhood Experiences last fiscal year alone thanks to crucial funding from the Victims of Child Abuse Act. Without this funding, we are unsure if we will be able to provide the same level of care and services to any child in Baltimore who may need our help.

Be a voice for children by contacting your U.S. Senators and Representatives. Let them know that children deserve the child-friendly, trauma-focused approach to abuse and trauma that only BCAC provides to children in Baltimore.

ADD YOUR NAME TO THIS PETITION TO LET MEMBERS OF CONGRESS KNOW THAT OUR CHILDREN NEED FULL FUNDING OF $20 MILLION FOR THE VICTIMS OF CHILD ABUSE ACT SO THAT WE CAN PROVIDE CRITICAL CRISIS INTERVENTION SERVICES FOR BALTIMORE’S CHILDREN.  

Raise your voice for BCAC

Alternatively, please call your Maryland Representatives who sit on the House Appropriations Committee:

Congressman, Andy Harris at 202-225-5311;

Congressman, C.A. Dutch Rupersberger at 202-225-3061; and

Vice Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Barbara Mikulski, who is also ranking member of the Commerce, Justice, and Science Committee at 202-224-4524.

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It’s not just child trafficking.

The other morning while I was driving to work down I-83, I saw the following billboard.

billboard

Let me be clear, I would be the first to tell you that child trafficking is one of the most insidious crimes going on in this country right now. And, I admire and appreciate the fact that the FBI is waging such a public campaign to elicit citizens to help end this scourge. However, ending child trafficking is only part of the problem. It’s a bit like cleaning up an oil spill without ending the oil leak. It’s a necessary step, but it’s not fixing the whole problem.

Why doesn’t the billboard implore drivers to Help the FBI End Child Sexual Abuse? Or Child Abuse, in general? (I have issues with the term “child prostitution,” but that’s a post for another day.)

Indeed, there are incidences of child trafficking and prostitution that resulted from a child abduction, but most cases of child trafficking victims aren’t like the movie, “Taken”. These are children who’ve experienced multiple adverse childhood experiences, among them child abuse and sexual abuse. In fact, 90% of children who are commercially sexually exploited have a history of sexual abuse, according to National Institute of Justice. (2007). Commercial sexual exploitation of children: What do we know and what do we do about it? (Publication NCJ 215733). US Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs.n.

Baltimore Child Abuse Center spends a good amount of time working with and helping prevent child trafficking. For over five years now, our forensic interviewers have helped with FBI investigations when cases of child or human trafficking have been discovered. We sit on a variety of task forces, and one of our staff members is one of the state’s (if not the nation’s) leading experts on approaches to combating child sex trafficking.

If there’s anything that we’ve learned in 25 years of forensic interviewing and intervening in child sex abuse cases, it’s that a child deserves the best possible response so that they can find justice and heal. Further, they would be far better-served if we began to concentrate more of our efforts at the root of the problem, rather than responding to situations further down the road.

Perhaps it’s our absolute revulsion over the idea of a child being sold into prostitution that makes such public campaigns and outrage plausible, but I believe firmly that we all should be equally repulsed and ashamed by the fact that children are being abused and sexually abused in every community across Maryland and the entire U.S. Where are the massive public campaigns to stop it?

To my colleagues and advocates in the field who work tirelessly to prevent child trafficking, I salute you. And I also ask, what else we should be doing to prevent these children from ending up in that predicament to begin with?

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Be A Hero for Children in Baltimore!

Join BCAC for the second annual Be A Hero gala!

April 30, 2015

Power Plant Live!

34 Market Place, Baltimore, MD 21202

with special guest, Robin Quivers

Robin Quivers

Best known as news anchor on the groundbreaking and immensely popular Sirius XM radio program “The Howard Stern Show” for over 30 years, Baltimore-born Robin Quivers’ story is one of early struggles to cope with sexual abuse as a pre-teen, followed by unprecedented success as world’s greatest good sport, defiant survivor, and unintentional trailblazer.

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES ARE AVAILABLE.

Click here to sponsor Be A Hero.

Tickets available in early 2015. Contact Jenny at development@bcaci.org or 443-984-3013 to add your name to the advanced ticketing list and for more information.

THIS EVENT WILL SELL OUT.

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