In Motion School of Dance has joined the fight against child sexual abuse.
Now six staff members are trained in prevention and how to spot telltale signs of abuse through a programme run by charity Saving Children and Revealing Secrets.
In Motion owner and director Lizz Pimentel said: “Many of us have seen the devastating affects sexual abuse can have on a person and how it can stay with them for their whole life.
“As teachers and parents, we sit on the front lines, and we are committed to doing all we can to help or prevent any child from being abused.
“Far too often we can miss the signs that are right in front of us and I believe that the Scars training gives us valuable insight to hopefully make a difference.”
Ms Pimentel added that while the staff were aware of the issues surrounding sexual abuse, they were surprised at how many people were affected. She said: “When you are aware of the true scope of the problem, it makes you want to do more to prevent it where you can.”
Ms Pimentel added that awareness of the problem is key to eradicating abuse in the future.
“In Motion would like to work with Scars in the future to give our parents and dancers access to information and support.
“We have always cultivated a familial atmosphere at the school and that has allowed us to be closely involved in our dancers’ lives.
“We hope that this relationship will allow any students at risk to come to us if they need help or guidance.”
Ms Pimentel said they will be holding another session for those staff members who were not able to take part in the training on August 19.
She added: “In Motion and its team would definitely recommend this training and are grateful to the Scars team for sharing their knowledge and time with us.”
Statistics from the United States-based organisation Darkness to Light state one in ten children will be sexually abused before the age of 18 and 90 per cent of victims know their abuser.
To help tackle the issue in Bermuda, Scars has trained more than 5,950 people on child sexual abuse prevention — making the island the first country to train more than 10 per cent of its adult population.
Through the Darkness to Light Stewards of Children training programme, Scars provides training to individuals and organisations entrusted with children to prevent, recognise, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. The registered charity also offers the Safe programme, which provides a “tool box” of information for those who care for children.
By Lisa Simpson The Royal Gazette