Even for those of us who didn’t know Colton Turner, the tragedy of his death is a heart break. In the wake of such terrible sadness, we are all faced with the troubling questions, “If I saw something that may be putting a child in danger, would I do something? How would I intervene?” While I like to think I would, not knowing how to intervene can make it difficult to do so.
People that knew Colton did intervene and did what they knew how to do. There were reports to CPS, friends and family supported the mother as best they could. It’s a sad thing that our system is so broken and ineffective that it did not save Colton. Sometimes tragedies happen. In Colton’s case there may be nothing that could have been done.
But often tragedies are preventable. In Colton’s memory we need to look at the difficult questions and do everything in our power to stop the abuse of any child.
Here are a few ways you can help-
- Even if you know a report has been made to CPS, report it again.
- Offer support to people who may be in need. “It looks like you are having a hard time. Is there any way I can help you?”
- Know the local resources available to families and children.
- If you see something, say something.
- Make the Kidpower Put Safety First Commitment
I WILL Put the Safety and Well-Being of Young People Ahead of Anyone’s Embarrassment, Inconvenience or Offense!
Through the first annual Child Protection Month, Kidpower is putting the focus on adult leadership in protecting the safety and best interests of children. Join us and be a protector of children!
visit https://www.childprotectionmonth.org/i-commit-to-put-safety-first/ to make the commitment.
What can I do if I see a child who may be in an unsafe situation?
Intervene powerfully, respectfully, and immediately to stop unsafe or disrespectful behavior.
Recently I was at one of Austin’s many indoor playgrounds with my children. As I watched them play with their friends I noticed another group of children playing very rough. There was one young girl, about 5 years old, and 4 boys each progressively older. The boys were piled on top of her. She looked unhappy and was yelling for them to stop. I quickly walked over to them and yelled, “Hey, she is telling you to stop, you need to listen to her!” They stopped and stared at me.
“This is our sister. We’re just playing.” The girl nodded.
“Who are you hear with?”
“Our mom.” the oldest said, pointing to her.
I approached the mom, “Did you see what was happening there?” She nodded and gave me a wry smile. “And you were OK with that?” Another nod. “OK, I just wanted to make sure she was safe.” I felt a bit embarrassed and I imagine she may have been a bit offended. But I thought about what if the girl hadn’t been OK and I had done nothing? When the girl ran by me I said, You were having fun?” She nodded. “Good! I just wanted to make sure you were safe.” She gave me a big smile. I hope I showed her that most strangers are good and that she can ask for help if she needs it.
At least, I like to think so.
For other ideas on how you can protect children go to http://www.childprotectionmonth.org/10-actions-for-adult-leaders/
These things are so frightening that they make me want to follow my daughter everywhere. This is as unrealistic as it is damaging. I can’t do it forever and what will she do at 14, 15,16 or whatever age she is when I finally let her out of my sight? She needs to know how to protect herself and the earlier she learns the better.
“Stranger danger” wording and other scary or negative images are often used by the media when they present stories about violence, particularly violence against children. Headlines are far more likely to say “GIRL ATTACKED!” than “GIRL PROTECTS HERSELF FROM ATTACKER!” We are more likely to read, ”ATTEMPTED ABDUCTION!” instead of “CHILD STOPS ABDUCTION!” This emphasis on the negative – on the danger or risk rather than on the success of the person attacked – can increase anxiety and fear.
When we, as parents and caregivers, follow stories like this, we are wise to reflect on what happens for ourselves and the children in our care in the process. In general, just talking and hearing about dangers increases anxiety and fears. Unfortunately, the rhyming phrase “stranger danger” plays into that anxiety and fear. We encourage people to give up the phrase “stranger danger” and focus instead on stranger safety, along with focusing on safety with peers and other people children know.
Practicing ways to deal with a problem can build confidence and reduce anxiety. When violence of any kind happens close to home, especially if it is violence against a young person, we often find ourselves poring over the newspaper for information or listening to radio or TV reports in hopes of good news.
To read the full article visit: http://www.kidpower.org/library/article/media-awareness/