This year has brought changes and challenges no one could have anticipated. However, the movement to protect kids in 2020 did not slow down. We pivoted and continued to provide vital resources and education to communities around the world.
As we reflect on 2020 (can you believe it’s almost 2021?!?), we continue to be overwhelmed and amazed by lengths our Authorized Facilitators, partners, and supporters go to to protect kids. It hasn’t been easy. Given that 30% of victims are abused by a family member, we know that many kids are riding out quarantine with their abusers. The shut downs caused by the pandemic presented an interesting challenge; if we can’t be in-person with kids, how can we protect them?
Instead of losing momentum, we actually saw an exciting increase in child protection in 2020! We rose to the challenge with flexibility and creativity, and developed strategies to help concerned adults cope. Below are some highlights from this past year:
Protecting Kids Virtually
With the reality of COVID-19 and stay at home orders, Darkness to Light knew we had to adapt our training modalities. After a pilot phase, we released a virtual Stewards of Children® training format. Unlike our online training, virtual training allows Authorized Facilitators to guide a group of trainees through a discussion of the docutraining, just as they would in an in-person training. We’ve seen some exciting progress as a result of this new format. Facilitators are able to reach new audiences to protect kids in ways they’ve never had access to before! It has also allowed us to take the Facilitator Workshop virtual, so new facilitators can be trained this way as well.
2 Million Trained:
We launched our first prevention training 15 years ago, during a time when “abuse prevention” meant teaching children to protect themselves using concepts like “stranger danger” and “safe touch.” Through a network of 12,000 volunteer Authorized Facilitators, we changed the conversation and put the responsibility of protecting children on adults, launching education that has been used around the world to teach adults what they need to know to protect the children from abuse.
It took us 10 years to train one million people. It took us five years to train another. Even in the face of the pandemic, this is a movement that cannot be stopped. In less than one year, we trained 100,000 adults to protect kids in 2020, crossing the 2 million mark in October.
Darkness to Light is working to improve access to resources for vulnerable communities while amplifying diverse voices and experiences. One way we’ve done this is by holding monthly, live virtual events called, “Honest Conversations.” We know that no community is immune from child sexual abuse. This webinar and live-streaming series was born out of the need to learn unique perspectives from different communities and how they deal with the issue of child sexual abuse. By bringing together members of underrepresented communities for an authentic discussion about the stigma surrounding child sexual abuse, we are able to learn about the strengths and challenges of protecting children in those communities. You can read more about our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives here.
In January 2020, Darkness to Light partnered with the Special Olympics, with critical support from the Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children, to develop a targeted sexual abuse prevention curriculum that supports people with disabilities so they can lead healthy and safe lives. We launched the online training, Operation Safeguard, in November! The training supports Special Olympics’ commitment to advancing and strengthening the protection of people with intellectual disabilities from physical and sexual abuse. We are excited to see the ways Operation Safeguard helps protect people with disabilities from sexual abuse.
In Your Newsfeed:
- .ORG- Reducing Stigma and Protecting Children by Educating Adults
- Armchair Expert Podcast with Dax Shepard & Aly Raisman
- Radio Kingston – La Voz con Mariel Fiori
- CNN – The Qanon conspiracy is fake. The harm it’s doing to child welfare groups is real.
- Charleston Living Magazine – 20 Years of Darkness to Light
Want to see more? Check out our 2020 fiscal year accomplishments!
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