PREVENTION

Can make a difference in the
life of a child.

S.A.F.E.

(Safety Awareness For Everyone)

program

Shannon Bond

is the creator and presenter of the SAFE program. SAFE has been a reoccurring Abuse Prevention program in the following counties for over 30 years and has served over 30,000 students in over 7 school districts.

Bartow, Cartersville City, Chattooga, Cobb, Floyd County, and Rome City schools have identified SAFE as a resource to meet the new mandate issued in Georgia Senate Bill 401 (Erin’s Law).

Every SAFE presentation has components of auditory, visual, rehearsal, and kinesthetic teaching techniques.

By laughing with and providing Shannon with the answers to her questions, students experience multiple ah-ha moments while realizing just how powerful they are today and always. Each SAFE presentation is full of humor, self-empowerment, and active skill-based components. Students leave feeling strong, aware, and prepared.

Shannon’s personal messages are “You Are of Great Worth” and “Tricksters know just how Powerful You Are”.

Kindergarten / First Graders

Kindergarten/ First Graders use hand motions to solidify the “Touching Rule” into their vocabulary and into their memory.Shannon’s personal messages are “You Are of Great Worth” and “Tricksters know just how Powerful You Are”.

Second Graders / Third Graders

Second Graders/ Third Graders add “Touches We Like” and “Touches We Don’t Like,” and “Uh-Oh” touches (and feelings) and create their own “Safety Plan” for various real-life situations and environments.

Shannon’s personal messages are “You Are of Great Worth” and “Tricksters know just how Powerful You Are”.

Fourth Graders / Fifth Graders

Fourth Graders/ Fifth Graders view the Committee for Children’s Emmy Award-winning movie, Yes you Can Say NO (Seattle Institute for Child Advocacy, Committee for Children, 1990). They are invited to become experts on safety and friendship. We identify together who is on their team and how to recognize tricks and tricksters.

Hermenabelle, the puppet

Then, of course, there is Hermenabelle, the puppet. Hermenabelle is the bridge between the words and feelings of those who have been hurt and those whom she is teaching. Hermenabelle is the one whom they rescue again and again.Shannon’s personal messages are “You Are of Great Worth” and “Tricksters know just how Powerful You Are”.

Have the SAFE Program in your school

Contact Shannon Bond at 770-401-4201 (Call or Text) or
email her at sbond@berry.edu.

LEARN SOME SIMPLE STEPS THAT YOU, AS AN ADULT, CAN DO TO PROTECT CHILDREN:

Learn the facts and understand the risks.
Realities, not trust, should influence your decisions regarding your child.

Learn More »

Minimize opportunity.
If you eliminate or reduce one-adult/one-child situations, you’ll lower the risk of your child becoming a victim.

Learn More »

Talk about it.
Children usually keep abuse a secret. Barriers can be broken down by talking openly about it.

Learn More »

Stay alert.
Don’t expect obvious signs when a child is being sexually abused. If there are signs, they often are attributed to other things.

Learn More »

Make a plan.
Be ready if your child tells you that they have been abused.

Learn More »

ACT ON SUSPICIONS.

IF YOU HAVE A CONCERN, TAKE ACTION!

Learn the Facts:

People who abuse children look and act just like everyone else. In fact, they often go out of their way to appear trustworthy to gain access to children. Perpetrators gain trust in the child and the child’s parents. This process, called grooming, can sometimes last for years. Physical contact with the child often begins with “out-in-the-open” touches that appear appropriate and normal–a pat on the shoulder, an occasional hug, a tickle on the back of the neck… As the child becomes accustomed to these touches, the perpetrator moves towards inappropriate touching.

REMEMBER:

Statistically…

 

 

  •  If they are being victimized, your child may endure sexual
    abuse for six months before making an outcry or disclosure.
  • Only one in ten child victims reports the abuse.
  • Teaching your kids ‘stranger danger’ protects them from less
    than 5% of abusers/perpetrators.
  • Abusers can target a neighbor’s child, step-child, niece/
    nephew, biological child, sibling, stranger, grandchild, or others.

Minimize Opportunity:

  • Understand that abusers often become friendly with potential victims and their families, enjoying family activities and earning family trust.
  • Talk to your children about appropriate/inappropriate touching – touches we like vs. touches we don’t like.
  • Avoid placing your child alone with one adult. Look for group situations instead.
  • Lobby for policies limiting one-adult/one-child situations in all youth-related activities such as faith groups, sports teams, and school clubs.
  • Make sure parents can interrupt or observe activities at any time and that background checks are done on people working directly with children.
  • Tell those that work with your child in these settings that you have talked to your children about appropriate/inappropriate touching.
  • Insist that these groups train their staff to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.
  • Drop in unexpectedly when your child is alone with any adult or older child.
  • Monitor your child’s Internet use, as this is how child molesters often interact privately with children, with the goal of luring them into physical contact.
  • Set an example by personally avoiding one-adult/one-child situations with children.

Talk About It:

  • Children are afraid of disappointing their parents. They’re also afraid of disrupting the family.
  • The abuser sometimes threatens the child or a family member.
  • The abuser shames the child, points out that they let it happen, or tells them that their parents will be angry.
  • Some children who did not initially disclose abuse are afraid or ashamed to tell when it happens again.
  • Some children are too young to understand.
  • Many abusers tell children the abuse is ‘okay’ or a ‘game.’
Know how children communicate:
  • Children who do disclose sexual abuse often tell a trusted adult other than a parent.
  • Training for people who work with children is especially important.
  • Children may tell ‘parts’ of what happened or pretend it happened to someone else to gauge adult reaction.
  • Children will often ‘shut down’ and refuse to tell more if you respond emotionally or negatively.
  • If your child does not talk to you, don’t think it’s a sign of poor parenting.
Talk openly with your child:
  • Good communication may decrease your child’s vulnerability and increase the likelihood that they will tell you if they are sexually abused.
  • Teach your child that it is your job to protect them.
  • Teach your child that it is not their responsibility to protect others.
  • Demonstrate daily that you will not be angry, no matter what your child tells you about any aspect of his life.
  • Listen quietly. Children have a hard time telling parents about troubling events.
  • Teach your child about their body, about what abuse is. Teach them words that help them discuss parts of the body comfortably with you.
  • Tell the child that NOBODY should touch their private parts unless it’s to help keep them clean or healthy.
  • Start early and talk often. Use everyday opportunities to talk about sexual abuse.

Stay Alert:

Contrary to popular belief, there probably will not be any signs of sexual abuse if a child is molested. Physical findings are not common. However, redness, rashes or swelling in the genital area, urinary tract infections or other such symptoms should not go ignored. Also, physical problems associated with anxiety, such as chronic stomach pain or headaches, may occur.

Emotional or behavioral signals are more common. However, some children do not show any obvious emotional distress. Some children can be abused and maintain “honor roll” status. If there are emotional changes, these changes can run from ‘too perfect’ behavior, to withdrawal and depression, to unexplained anger and rebellion.

Sexual behavior and language that are not age-appropriate can be a red flag.
Be aware that in some children there are no signs whatsoever.

MAKE A PLAN

  • If your child breaks an arm or runs a high fever, you know to stay calm and where to seek help because you’ve mentally prepared yourself.
  • Reacting to child sexual abuse is the same. Your reactions have a powerful influence on your child(ren).
  • Stay calm (or at least fake it in front of your child).
  • Reassure your child that you’re proud of them for telling you (or a trusted adult).
  • Don’t show anger.
  • Ask the child, “Is there anything else you want to tell me about that right now?”
  • Don’t question the child for specific details (who, where, when, how many, why?).
  • Don’t promise it will never happen again–that’s a promise you can’t guarantee. Instead, promise you will do everything you can to help them–and follow through with that promise!
  • Believe your child.
  • Contact authorities to seek help for your child and your family.

Where do I get help?

Georgia Department of Family and Children Services
1-855-GA-Child, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you need the police, please contact:

Floyd County Police Department at (706) 235-7766
Polk County Police Department at (770) 748-7331
Aragon City Police Department at (770) 684-6563
Cave Spring Police Department at (706) 777-3382
Cedartown City Police Department at (770) 748-4123
Rockmart City Police Department at (770) 684-6558
Rome City Police Department at (706) 238-5111

In 1991, the Floyd County Child Abuse Protocol Committee recommended the establishment of a coordinated system designed to respond to child abuse cases. The committee specifically recommended the establishment of a children’s center and the creation of a multidisciplinary child abuse investigation team. After detailed research and much effort, the Northwest Georgia Child Advocacy Center, known as “Harbor House”, was established in the fall of 1994.

© 2023 Harbor House, Rome, GA. NWGA-CAC. CASA® logo, name, and slogans are trademarks.

Harbor House is a 501(c)3 (nonprofit) organization and donations are tax-deductible.

Sign up for our newsletter

Subscribe to our email list to stay up to date and learn about how to get involved in our mission.