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Priority Kids is an advocacy and training company with a mission to eradicate childhood sexual abuse. Angela has been working hard to get her message out to the world and I’m so happy that we were able to connect. This is such an important issue for all parents, educators and anyone else who may be working with or be around children. We all can do our part to keep our kids safe.
“I’ve lived in the Annapolis Valley since 2002. I grew up all over Canada (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec ), but Nova Scotia was always our ‘real’ home where both of my parents were born and raised.
While I was studying at Acadia University, I met Tim Ansems, who grew up here in Port Williams. He had just purchased the ‘farm-next-door’ from where he grew up. We fell madly in love and I’ve been making his life difficult ever since. We have 3 children who are 13, 15 and 17 years old.
Living in this rural and agricultural community led me straight into entrepreneurship. For 6 years I ran a summer program for a small group of children from a remote community in northern Manitoba. I also created Valley Cloth Diaper Company, an online store built with html and dial-up internet. I ran Valley Cloth Diapers for 5 years and really enjoyed being immersed in the ‘new family’ world.
In 2015 my work shifted when I was hired to coordinate our region’s Sexual Violence Project. The funding for this work came from the provincial government in response to the public outcry following the death of Rehtaeh Parsons.
I was already a trained Peer Counselor with SOAR, and I had completed most of the Somatic Experiencing Practitioner training. I was also an Authorized Facilitator of Stewards of Children®, a program that teaches adults how to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. My job was hosted by the Red Door Youth Health & Support Centre.
Since that project ended, I have been unschooling my kids through their middle school years and living a good life as a farmer’s wife and a mom. I’ve been building my gardening skills, learning how to preserve food, building yurts, and generally being at peace with my family and our farm.
At the beginning of 2020, I decided that I did not want to continue to tolerate the amount of child sexual abuse that occurs in our community. I decided to give up my comfortable lifestyle and commit my time and resources to advocate for child protection. I created Priority Kids Training Programs, an advocacy and training company with a mission to eradicate childhood sexual abuse. We are working towards this goal by training adults to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.
Almost every discussion, in every training I have ever facilitated, includes a moment when someone says, ‘well, it really does take a village’.
Because when we learn what it takes to keep kids safe from sexual abuse, we realize that it takes a community.
The topic of child sexual abuse is tough. But the empowerment and enthusiasm that is generated when adults come together to protect children, is uplifting, and rewarding. I am grateful that I am able to make this advocacy work a part of my life. I am passionate about keeping kids safe and providing children with nurturing, supportive and healthy relationships.”
“Child Sexual Abuse is Common
34% of kids are sexually abused by age 18.
70% of all sexual violence reported to the police occurs against children.
The median age is 9 years old.
This means that 34% of adults were sexually abused as children. And we see the impact of that with anxiety, depression, mental health challenges, PTSD, diabetes, cancer, suicide, and many other harms that last into adulthood.
This is a difficult fact to accept, but it is not controversial. These facts are widely known by researchers.
The link between child sexual abuse and the social challenges of adulthood has been proven through the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study.
Child Sexual Abuse is Preventable.
A lot of people don’t really think about child sexual abuse. And that’s the problem. Because it is so prevalent, it is reasonable that people would conclude that it must be difficult to prevent. People might conclude that it is a complicated problem without a good solution. But this isn’t true. The problem isn’t that child sexual abuse is difficult to prevent. The problem is that we aren’t utilizing
the skills and behaviours that are known to keep kids safe.
At Priority Kids, we deliver the most globally recognized and proven prevention training for adults. 15, 000 facilitators in 78 countries have trained over 2 million adults. We’ve seen communities transformed when adults become trained.
Kids can be protected.”
“For decades the problem of child sexual abuse has been studied and the circumstances in which it occurs are well understood. From this information, Best Practices have been defined so that we can protect children from sexual abuse.
At Priority Kids we work with organizations to help them implement Best Practices so that we can keep kids safe. (https://www.prioritykids.ca/s/PreventingChildSexualAbuse-a.pdf)
Not All Organizations are Using Best Practices
Some organizations are using some Best Practices, but not many organizations have a specific strategy to implement as many Best Practices as possible. At Priority Kids, we believe that when organizations create a strategy to protect children, we will experience a dramatic decrease in the rate of child sexual abuse. When adults are trained to protect children, it becomes easier to create an effective strategy.
Training adults is one of the Best Practices that we can use to keep kids safe.”
“Many incidents of child sexual abuse occur within families and close friendships. 90% of child victims and their families know and trust the offender. Our training helps adults understand how child sexual abuse happens and teaches strategies to prevent it from occurring.
Our training is appropriate for parents, caring adults, and professionals who serve children.”
“Caring adults can help protect children by taking the training and advocating for children. You can learn more about both by subscribing to our newsletter (http://eepurl.com/gZtgRb), Training is always our first recommendation. People who take the training come away with a good understanding of the challenge, so that it becomes easier to make safety decisions in any situation we encounter.
The 5 Steps we teach in the training are:
1. Learn the Facts: If we don’t understand child sexual abuse, we can’t end it. It is highly likely that you know a child who has been or is being abused.
2. Minimize Opportunity: Safe environments can help reduce the risk for abuse. More than 80% of sexual abuse cases occur in isolated, one-on-one situations.
3. Talk About It: Talking openly breaks down barriers and reduces stigma. By talking openly about our bodies, sex & boundaries we can encourage children to share.
4. Recognize the Signs: Signs of abuse aren’t always obvious, but they are often there. Emotional or behavioural changes are often the most common signs.
5. React Responsibly: It’s our responsibility to react appropriately to suspicion, disclosure, or discovery of abuse.”
“What do you have in place to protect children from sexual abuse?”
“Advocating for child protection practices is an effective way of keeping kids safe. When you participate in programming for youth, find out what sexual abuse prevention measures are in place. We all need practice talking about this difficult subject, and every time we are brave enough to bring it up, children benefit.”
“Every individual in the province of Nova Scotia has a legal obligation to report concerns of abuse or neglect of a child under the age of 19 in order to ensure children are protected from harm.
In our training, we learn that you do not need to have proof that abuse has occurred in order to report your concerns or suspicions. Making a report is not making an accusation. Making a report is simply requesting that professionals assess and determine if the child is safe.”
“Many of us have personal experiences that make it difficult to interact with the topic of child sexual abuse prevention. At Priority Kids, we believe that everyone deserves access to professional and specialized recovery support. We have a few suggestions that can help you get started.”
Tough Topic – Strong Community
“We’ve seen it happen so many times. When a group of people come together to make child protection our top priority, our relationships are strengthened. Organizations run more smoothly. Frustrations and challenges that seem unrelated to child protection (lack of volunteers, interpersonal conflict, lack of resources, sexism, racism etc.) are transformed. Instead of struggling, groups thrive. Instead of shying away from tough conversations, we learn how to talk to each other.”
At Priority Kids, we believe that a better world starts with protecting children.
Stay connected with us to learn about training opportunities and to receive support and encouragement as you help create a safe environment for your family and friends.
Let’s keep kids safe together.