Calgary Child Advocacy Centre launches trauma-training program

Calgary Child Advocacy Centre launches trauma-training program

From the Calgary Herald – A new program launched by the Calgary Child Advocacy Centre aims to help people recognize the potential signs of child abuse when working with youth.

The online tool, called “Being Trauma Aware: Making a difference in the lives of children and youth”, is a two-and-a-half-hour course designed to increase understanding of the effects of child abuse and provide training for social workers, teachers, police officers, doctors, sport coaches and other front-line workers.

“What we hear time and time again is when a child finally does disclose or a perpetrator is held accountable is that many people who were involved in the situation had their suspicions,” said Sara Austin, CEO of the centre.

“People had a bad feeling about a situation and yet for some reason didn’t act. This course really helps to fill that gap.”

The program, developed in collaboration with the province, the University of Calgary, the Zebra Child Protection Centre, the Palix Foundation, the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, is free for the remainder of the year.

Its development was funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Austin said one in three Canadians experiences some form of abuse as a child, yet the issue is still vastly under-reported.

“The majority will not disclose their abuse,” she said. “Even as an adult, many survivors still do not come forward and seek help.”

The course is “trauma-informed” and “evidence-based,” according to Austin.

“It really is around creating awareness about the issues involving child maltreatment,” she said. “By taking the course, you would learn things like how to recognize the signs of potential child abuse, how to respond if a child discloses abuse, what to do if you suspect the child abuse is happening and how you can responsibly report the incident and maintain the safety of the child involved.”

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