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Jun 04, 2008
Part 1: Outreach is a challenging task...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Although Canada does have counsellors in schools, and there are excellent information/workshop resources available, budget cuts have led to serious program cuts and funding deficiencies. Even though my own services as a facilitator in the schools were always done on a volunteer basis, there was still a materials cost to the schools, usually paid in the form of an honorarium. School boards force school administrators to make difficult choices. Administrators must choose between providing their students with workshops on bullying, child abuse, relationship violence, plus a host of other topics; they consistently choose relationship violence (RV), because RV is so prevalent among teens. This is a short-sighted approach since RV is often an effect of child abuse. But school administrators' hands are tied. They are forced to be reactive rather than proactive in the process. Our system in Canada is sick.

It was partly due to the "system illness" that I decided to give up my affiliation with the Canadian Red Cross RespectED Program. I no longer go into the schools to offer presentations. I no longer conduct professional workshops. My decision was made with a heavy heart, but I was struggling with a system that simply does not understand the importance of prevention. Instead, I branched out on my own with this website. But I also knew I would reach far more people through my website than I ever could through presentations in classrooms and workshops consistently attended by a mere handful of adults. On my best week ever facilitating child abuse workshops for students in high school, I addressed some 100 students. Of those hundred or so students, at least half of them didn't want to be there. I reach more than 13 times that number each and every day through this website.

I would love to focus more on prevention in the form of outreach, but the sad fact is, by the time people look for information about child abuse, they have usually been victimized by it in one way or another. This has forced me to concentrate more on intervention. But the good news is, through this site, I now deal with a much more captive audience, an audience that is somewhat made up of young people. As I continue to expand my site, I hope to help re-educate these young people and inspire them to look for alternative ways of disciplining their children in the future. So in a sense, I am working the prevention angle.

Janet, if you decide to follow the model that I've created, without funding or a resource organization to align yourself with, you must be aware that there is a great personal cost to providing such an interactive site.

Part 2 follows below.

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

Jun 04, 2008
Part 2: Align yourself with a like-minded organization...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

As you may already know, this site not only provides a great deal of information about child abuse, it also provides a safe place where child abuse victims can be validated, supported and encouraged through comments given by me and other visitors to this site.

Janet, as I explained to the other person I wrote last year about an outreach program, as long as governments continue to put the safety and nurturing of our children close to the bottom of the priority list, crime rates and violence among our youth will continue to rise. And as the cycle of violence goes round and round and then escalates, bullying and harassment rates will soar, then we can expect more and more incidences of relationship violence and domestic violence, and then as our children become adults we will be dealing with more and more incidences of child abuse, and the cycle of violence will continue and eventually we will be dealing with more and more elder abuse. That leaves people like you and me to take a stand and do what needs to be done. Now.

Currently, on my website alone, I put in the equivalent hours of two full time jobs each and every week; all that I do on my website must be considered "volunteering." I must now scale back those hours because I must create a balance in my own personal life. I offer this information to you, because I believe you must go into this with your eyes wide open. You must ask yourself how much of your personal time you are willing to dedicate. Of course, there is no better cause to dedicate your time toward.

The advice I offer is, if at all possible, find an organization to align yourself with, an organization that has financial and personnel resources available in order for you to provide outreach in the form of intervention and prevention; an organization that shares your passion to help abused children and prevent abuse from happening in the first place. I have yet to find such an organization in Canada.

I wish I could offer you more than what amounts to a virtual standing ovation for your programme and your goals at preventing child abuse, Janet. But you and I are faced with the same challenges as we strive to provide a voice and a safe place to the most precious of those in society: our children. I sincerely hope that you are better able to find resources in England than I am able to find here in Canada. The work we do for our children is too valuable to be ignored.

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

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Disclaimer: To the best of my knowledge the child abuse
stories on this site are true. While I cannot guarantee
this, I do try to balance the need for the submitter to be
heard and validated with the needs of my visitors.



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