Yesterday, CBC News released the results of their national survey investigating violence in schools. CBC reports the highest level of student-on-student sexual violence was recorded by survey participants in Manitoba.
The Canadian Centre for Child Protection (C3P) finds these results deeply concerning, and believes more training for both students and school staff is required to address the survey findings.
Over the past 15 years, C3P has developed research and evidence-based prevention and intervention programs that address the sexual victimization of children and youth. C3P is encouraging educators to review and implement our two education programs, Kids in the Know and Commit to Kids.
“We need to do better as professionals responsible for the safety of the children in our care,” said Noni Classen, C3P Director of Education. “We have to build capacity in schools to both prevent and properly respond to these situations when students do come forward — that’s why we have developed these programs.”
Kids in the Know (KIK), C3P’s national interactive safety program for kindergarten to senior high is a research-based resource that helps teachers deliver critical lessons that cover healthy boundaries, relationships, the role technology plays in sexual victimization, and getting help. Starting in kindergarten, the lessons progress alongside student development until senior high, when sexual consent is taught. KIK lessons are matched to the Physical Education and Health outcomes mandated by departments of education across Canada, and can be delivered by teachers without any additional training.
KIK is available to all schools in Canada; while some divisions and schools mandate its use, there are significant gaps in the consistent use of the program from school to school and classroom to classroom.
Commit to Kids (C2K), C3P’s program to help organizations prevent sexual abuse, includes online training for professionals to help respond effectively and appropriately when students need help.
C3P is already seeing uptake in the program from schools across Canada in response to increased reports of sexual abuse by both staff and students within school settings. Last week a school division in Ontario dedicated a professional development day to the program, which saw more than 7,000 staff members, from teachers to janitors, trained in one day.
“We see sexual violence issues at every level of society right now — in sport, churches, workplaces, as well as in schools.” said Classen. “Schools have a unique role as they have both a responsibility to create safe environments and an opportunity to have these conversations, which students may not be having anywhere else.”