More adults can learn how to help prevent child sexual abuse in Bermuda thanks to a five-figure donation to charity.

Saving Children And Revealing Secrets received $10,000 from the Argo Foundation after representatives explained the value of its work in the community.

The foundation, the philanthropic arm of the multinational insurance provider Argo Group, was set up in 2009 to invest in the island’s young people.

Its website stated its mission was to “support the healthy development and wellbeing of Bermuda’s young people”.

Scars works to reduce the risk of child sexual abuse through its training programmes and speaks up for children as well as their affected family members.

Debi Ray-Rivers, its founder and executive director, said: “Scars is very passionate about protecting children and preserving innocence in our community and this donation of $10,000 absolutely makes a huge difference for us.

“This very generous financial gift allows us to continue providing prevention education and awareness to reduce the risk of child sexual abuse in our community.

“It also provides Scars an opportunity to continue to advocate and be a voice for children who have been sexually abused, as well as their affected families.

“We do not charge attendees for any of our prevention programmes and we hope that we never have to.

“Due to donations like this, a significant economic barrier is removed, thereby giving all adults in Bermuda the opportunity to become educated by participating in our programmes.”

Ms Ray-Rivers said the organisation was invited to deliver a presentation for the foundation’s allocations committee.

An independent group makes funding decisions quarterly.

Criteria included that the services offered by recipients were not duplicated by other charities in Bermuda, or that partnerships took place in cases where the objectives are similar.

Ms Ray-Rivers explained: “Our meeting was followed by a suggestion by the Argo Foundation for Scars to provide our Stewards of Children child sexual abuse prevention training programme to some members of their staff.

“Scars enthusiastically welcomed the opportunity to show the foundation what our training was all about, but better yet, we are able to educate more adults on how to recognise, prevent and react responsibly to this issue.”

The sessions are also offered every month in Hamilton and mean people can learn the facts about child sexual abuse, talk about it, reduce risks, recognise the signs and react responsibly.

Elspeth Gray, the Argo Foundation president, said: “We support Bermuda charities with an emphasis on helping Bermuda’s youth under the age of 18.

“Scars’ prevention programmes are designed to protect our youth and help break the cycle of abuse.

“What I understand from the training is that you’re much more likely to be an abuser if you have yourself been abused so it’s all about breaking the cycle.

“This aligns very well with the foundation’s focus on Bermuda’s youth.”

By Fiona McWhirter The Royal Gazette