Challenge Abuse Through Respect Education

A 2009 BC Grants application from the Red Cross sparked a discussion about the efficacy of teacher training in abuse prevention, and launched the Foundation's engagement with c.a.r.e., a decades-old program designed to educate young students about child sexual abuse, encourage disclosure, and change community behaviours, response and health. A little care means a lot.

The c.a.r.e. kit is designed for use by Grade One teachers in a week-long classroom module - focusing on child sexual abuse in its myriad of forms, by offenders known and unknown to the child, the c.a.r.e. kit is intended to encourage children who have experienced or may experience any unwanted touching to tell a trusted adult, and to change the culture around abuse in a community.

In 2002, the Red Cross assumed responsibility for the program in British Columbia, and eliminated a primary component of the program: teacher training. Whereas teachers were formerly provided at least a half-day training by a dedicated expert outside the classroom, the new iteration supposed that teachers could be suitable educated through the use of a CD-ROM viewed at their option.

Believing that interpersonal education is the most effective training mode available, and that child sexual abuse is among the most complicated child welfare and public health issues facing communities today, the Foundation challenged the Red Cross to reinvest in teacher training as a core piece of the c.a.r.e. kit.

Beginning Autumn 2011, a five-district pilot project will fund half-day teacher training, related substitute teacher costs, and new c.a.r.e. kits for all Grade One classrooms in soon-to-be announced school districts. Where donors are interested in a particular district and that district agrees to participate, more districts will be added to the pilot.

Front-end costs (initially training all teachers in a district) makes Year One especially burdensome on school districts; it is this burden the Foundation seeks to alleviate as a means to encouraging program implementation. Funding is, however, conditioned on a school district's agreement to budget for future trainings, training teachers new to the district.

The Foundation has committed to granting $100,000.00 to the Red Cross for the initiative, money raised at a 2010 preseason postgame dinner event hosted by David and Manjy Sidoo in Vancouver. The project will continue to be managed by the Red Cross.