Child protection organization calls for need to modernize safeguarding structures in education system; Government-mandated child sexual abuse prevention program step in right direction
For Immediate Release
Winnipeg, Manitoba – On January 3, 2022, more than 230,000 Ontario Certified Teachers (OCTs) will have access to a provincially government mandated child sexual abuse prevention program developed by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (C3P), and facilitated by the Ontario College of Teachers. C3P, which works directly with survivors of child sexual abuse, applauds the Government of Ontario for adopting this first‑of‑its kind model in Canada, and is urging other provinces to follow suit.
“There is a pressing need for modernized safeguarding structures in schools across Canada,” says Noni Classen, Director of Education for C3P, pointing to recent cases of teacher misconduct, including a case in Alberta where a teacher was alleged to have abused 200 children. “There are gaps that need to be addressed in order help protect children within educational environments.”
In 2018, C3P released a report titled, Child Sexual Abuse by K‑12 School Personnel in Canada, which uncovered 750 cases of sexual offences against a minimum of 1,272 children, carried out (or allegedly carried out) by 714 employees or former school employees. Since then, the organization has been calling for increased transparency within the education system, recommending that disciplinary decisions issued by the provincial/territorial teacher licencing bodies be made publicly available.
Further to this, Classen adds mandatory training and education on child sexual abuse prevention beyond the statutory duty to report is needed to set standards for accountability, including policies and practices for bringing forward and responding to inappropriate behaviour and boundary violations.
In early 2022, C3P plans to release several pieces of research including an updated version of the 2018 report, which will further underscore the need for a mechanical change in the education system to prevent child sexual abuse.
“Ultimately the goal of this research and our training is to help build schools’ awareness of child sexual victimization and how they can help mitigate this risk to protect the children in their care,” says Classen.
OCTs are required by legislation to take a tailored version of C3P’s Commit to Kids Child Sexual Abuse Prevention program, which helps teachers better understand the issue of child sexual abuse and highlights the importance of understanding boundaries, sexual misconduct, and reporting inappropriate behaviour.
To learn more about C3P, their research, and the Commit to Kids program, visit protectchildren.ca.Media relations contact:
1 (204) 560-0723