The month of April is recognized as Child Abuse Prevention Month, and SCARS will be launching their child protection awareness campaign ‘Because I am a Child’ on April 3rd.

SCARS Executive Director, Debi Ray-Rivers explains, “Because I am a Child Campaign is critical within our community. SCARS wants to send a clear message, that being a ‘child’ should be reason enough to justify that our children deserve, and should receive unconditional protection, love, care, and nurture.

“Our children need to be happy and healthy for them to thrive. It is very important that their need for emotional and physical nurture and protection are met so that our children can reach their full potential.”

The spokesperson said, “SCARS is a Bermuda registered charity [#922] that was formed to create a greater awareness of the devastation that child sexual abuse can cause in the life of an innocent child, their affected family and the community. The organization provides training to individuals and organizations entrusted with children to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.”

Ms. Ray-Rivers said, “SCARS primary focus is awareness, education, and prevention of child sexual abuse. The importance of this campaign is three-fold. First, it brings awareness on how we can protect children using their own voices. The age group of our youngsters is very important.

“Their needs are particular to the age group in which their messages are recorded. Secondly, we want to provide resources to help parents and guardians who want to learn more about how they can better understand, nurture, protect or simply support their children. As parents and guardians we want to ensure their emotional and physical wellbeing.

“Lastly, the campaign will include a discussion with SCARS and Family Centre, that will premiere on Channel 82 on Monday, April 10. The discussion will be hosted by well-known radio personality, Ms. Sheri J. and aired throughout the month of April.”

The spokesperson said, “SCARS will be partnering with local charity, Family Centre on this important campaign. Family Centre is a resource for parents and guardians for information and a place where children come first. Family Centre provides therapeutic services and programmes without judgement at no cost to children, teens, and their families throughout the island of Bermuda.”

Dr. Sandy De Silva, Family Centre’s Executive Director said, “Family Centre is delighted to partner with SCARS on such an important campaign. Family Centre is a strong advocate for the protection of children alongside organizations like SCARS. When SCARS approached us about this campaign our Family Centre team was fully committed to the messaging about children’s rights to be protected and cared for simply because they are children.

“Family Centre’s mission is to facilitate healing, hope, and connection to strengthen families and create a healthier Bermuda for our children, where their emotional and social wellbeing is a priority. Family Centre is committed to ensuring access to mental health support and enrichment community programmes for children and teens without barriers, so that the most vulnerable amongst us are treated fairly and can receive quality mental health care regardless of their family’s ability to pay.”

The spokesperson said, “Ms. Ray-Rivers encourages parents and guardians to take the challenge to become more mindful of our children and their needs. To take extra care with how we speak to children and respond to their questions or their worries. If they need help or you need help, please seek it. Family Centre our partner organization is available to help at no cost to families.

“We are all affected when a child is harmed, and in the words of Nelson Mandela, “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children,” said Ms. Ray-Rivers.