Child abuse class funding is low

Funding for a Crisis Centre programme that has taught nearly 1,400 adults how to protect children from sexual abuse is running out, according to the course coordinator.

Children Speak quilt

The Children Speak quilt can be seen at Books & Books until 5 December.

The courses, which have been running for 18 months, have been heavily subscribed and there is only enough money in the coffer to offer it for free to just 100 more people, said Carol Graham, the Crisis Centre’s community outreach coordinator said.

The course is funded by a grant from the Hedge Funds Care (Cayman).

‘We have about 60 people on the waiting list for the next public session. By the end of this month, about 1,400 will have taken the course,’ she said.

‘We have funding for about 100 more curricula. We’ve run through the grant money to process the curriculum for the classes.’

Unless other funding is found, the classes, might no longer be offered free of charge. The curriculum paperwork for the classes cost $15 per person, which would be the cost of the class as Mrs. Graham offers her services for free.

Another will be held at the Women’s Resource Centre on 6 December.

The courses at the Women’s Resource Centre cater to 20 people. A course held a church recently attracted 91 participants.

The course, titled ‘7 Steps to Protecting Children from Sexual Abuse’, drives home the point that protecting children is an adult’s job, Mrs. Graham said.

The seven steps include learn the facts and understand the risks; minimise opportunity; talk about it; stay alert; act on suspicions; get involved by volunteering or financially supporting organisations that fight child sexual abuse.

A visual reminder of the impact of child sexual abuse can be seen hanging inside the entrance of Books & Books in Camana Bay in the form of a large, colourful quilt, the handiwork of youngsters speaking out against child abuse.

The ‘Children Speak’ quilt is being displayed as part of the 16-day campaign.

Created in 2006 by children with the help of funding from the Hedge Funds Care (Cayman), the quilt was part of a project run by the National Gallery in conjunction with the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre.

Some 400 children and young people from schools, churches, children’s homes and even prisons, created individual squares for the quilt.

‘In fact, there are a few quilts. There were so many squares, we had three or four quilts, including one that was 20-feet long,’ Ms. Graham said.

Mrs. Graham and colleague Valerie Ebanks, visited public and private schools, Fairbanks Prison, Eagle House, the Bonaventure Home and churches to talk about child abuse and ask those willing to participate to express their feelings on a section of a quilt.

‘When we talked to the children, about half – 200 – were able to talk very clearly about abuse that had affected them or someone in their family. Primarily, they were talking about sexual abuse,’ she said.

For people who are unable to attend the Crisis Centre’s course, Mrs. Graham recommends an organisation called Darkness to Light. Its website www.darkness2light.org features the Seven Steps to Protecting Children from Child Abuse.

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