The Argus Group has selected SCARS Bermuda as one of its key community partners and has been helping the charity reach more adults with its ‘Darkness to Light Stewards of Children’ training programme. Argus made a financial donation to SCARS to enable it to offer the training free of charge to participants and providing conference room facilities where the training takes place.

SCARS was formed to create greater awareness and reduce the risk of child sexual abuse. Its mission is to be an advocate and voice for children who have been sexually molested, as well as their affected family.

The ‘Stewards of Children’ training is the only course available in Bermuda that is scientifically proven to increase knowledge, improve attitudes and change child-protective behaviours. The training is delivered as a three-hour evidence-based programme that educates adults on how to prevent, recognise and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.

The programme incorporates video segments of survivors sharing their stories, along with experts such as law enforcement agencies, doctors, psychologists, lawyers and other concerned individuals sharing their perspective. Group discussion is encouraged during the training and an interactive workbook is provided.

Some representatives from key children-facing organisations in Bermuda that have been trained by SCARS to date include: Child and Family Services, The Vulnerable Persons Unit of the Bermuda Police Service, North Village Community Centre, Bermuda Counsellor’s Association, Benedict Associates, The Centre Against Abuse, The Association of Diagnostic and Psychological Services, Bermuda Red Cross, Family Centre, King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, First Baptist Church and The Reading Clinic, to name a few.

Teachers from the following schools have also been through the SCARS training: The Berkeley Institute, Warwick Academy, Somersfield Academy, Saltus Grammar School, Bermuda Institute, Cedarbridge Academy, Bermuda Christian Academy, Lighthouse Christian Academy, Kiddie Academy, Bloomfield Nursery and Prospect Pre-School.

A number of parents and guardians have opted independently to take the training so they are better informed about the signs of child sexual abuse and therefore better equipped to address it with their own children and support victims.

Debi Ray-Rivers, Founder & Executive Director, SCARS, says: “SCARS is a relatively new charity in Bermuda and this training is a key way for us to engage the community in our mission. Our ultimate goal is to reach every adult in Bermuda with this important information. The sad reality is that 88 per cent of child sexual abuse cases go unreported so it is impossible to know how prevalent the issue is; that’s why having preventative measures in place on the island is so vital.”

Alison Hill, Chief Executive Officer, the Argus Group, says: “The training provided by SCARS is an essential community service so Argus wanted to ensure that the charity can reach as many people as possible at no financial cost to the individual. Trained ‘Stewards of Children’ are empowered to help victims reveal the damaging secret of sexual abuse.

“Putting this issue out in the open also helps to deter would-be offenders. Argus is in the business of prevention of personal and financial misfortune so this element of prevention in the work of SCARS was a key driver for us to support the charity.”

The next training session will take place this Saturday [Jan 12] at the Argus Building. As space is limited pre-registration is necessary by calling Debi Ray-Rivers on 537-7949 or emailing: Organisations can also contact SCARS to arrange individual presentations and training sessions.

By The Royal Gazette