Governor George Fergusson, together with his wife Margaret, are now certified ‘Stewards of Children’ having successfully completed the SCARS Bermuda’s three-hour workshop. The training delivered by SCARS is designed to educate adults on how to recognise, prevent and react responsibility to child sexual abuse.
The Darkness to Light ‘Stewards of Children’ programme presented by SCARS is compelling as it 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.
Governor and Mrs Fergusson:
The Governor, Mr. George Fergusson, said, “Child sexual abuse is all too often hidden. It is an underlying source of misery, which can be found right across societies, including in Bermuda. Besides personal misery, it undermines institutions and whole societies. People need to make themselves aware of this issue. First, to protect children – but also, by knowing the risks, people and institutions can protect themselves.
“Everyone can learn how to organise events, programmes and organisations to minimise risk. Everyone should know the signs to look out for and what to do if you spot them. My wife and I have recently done SCARS’ excellent course. I applaud SCARS work and recommend everyone to do a child protection course, even if their interaction with children is limited.”
Debi Ray-Rivers, Executive Director, SCARS Bermuda, said, “Darkness to Light ‘Stewards of Children’ is the only course available in Bermuda that is scientifically proven to increase knowledge, improve attitudes and change child-protective behaviours.
“Our goal is to train 2,250 adults in Bermuda within five years in order to achieve the recognised tipping point for creating a cultural shift towards positive societal values and behaviours. We are grateful to the Governor and his wife for taking the time to set an example by completing the training and in turn helping us to raise awareness and engage the community in our very important mission.”
Jon Brunson, Executive Director, SCARS Bermuda, added, “As we have seen in the news recently, the internet is playing an increasing role in facilitating child sexual abuse. In fact, one in five sexual abuse victims under the age of 15 are now solicited via social networks like Facebook. This is something that all adults, not just parents, need to increase their knowledge of so we can all play a part in protecting children.
“We thank the Governor for leading from the front by endorsing and highlighting the relevance of our ‘Stewards of Children’ training as an accessible-to-all means of building a greater understanding of this issue in our community. I also encourage people to visit here and read our fact sheet about protecting children online found under the ‘Resources’ tab, along with a range of other useful information sheets.”
SCARS has trained over 625 adults to date on the course, either during monthly public sessions or at an organisation or company’s premises where there is sufficient interest.
The next public training sessions will be held this Saturday [Oct 26], November 23, December 7 and January 18, from 9am until 12noon, at The Argus Building. The course is free to attend due to the support of generous corporate and community sponsors, but pre-registration is required by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to the ‘Stewards of Children’ training, SCARS also presents two awareness programmes: SAFE to Parent Teacher Association meetings in schools and Prevent Now, a 30-minute video presentation, which acts as a pre-cursor to more in-depth training, by serving to increase understanding of the emotional impacts that sexual abuse of children can have have not just for individuals but also upon the wider community.