News/Blog

What is Grooming and How Does it Relate to Internet Safety?

July 9, 2019 Uncategorized

Grooming is the process that an individual may use to identify potential victims and gain their trust so that they may carry out a sexual act on the child (source: victimsofcrime.org). In the digital age, grooming may occur online via social media, messaging apps, or video game portals.

Individuals with this type of behavior may extend to different adults in the child’s life including parents/step-parents, coaches, close friends, school personnel and other trusted community members. This individual, as a trusted adult, will use this type of relationship to approach children and act in sexually inappropriate ways. Often times, this individual will emphasize the importance of secrecy to minimize the potential for the child to disclose the abuse. Grooming can occur both in-person and via the internet. These individuals will build relationships with children to make them feel safe. These relationships online can be even more difficult for parents to monitor.

The internet is a platform that can be easily used to create these trusted relationships. Monitoring children’s usage on who they’re talking to and what they are talking about is key to keeping them safe. Some strategies to help monitor these interactions can include: keeping the computer/tablets in a communal space, and/or utilizing online parental monitoring resources. Three of our favorites include:

Safe Lagoon: Award winning and comprehensive, this app has several features including safe social networking, family GPS tracking, and instant message monitoring. It allows parents to keep tabs on all online interpersonal interactions. Link: https://safelagoon.com/en/

Boomerang: Get detailed text logs and set your child’s phone to only receive calls from approved contacts. Get real-time notifications when the app detects inappropriate words in text or messaging conversations. Link: https://useboomerang.com

Net Nanny: This software provides parents with instant reporting of online searches, notifications of apps used, and alerts when explicit content is detected (porn, suicide, weapons and drug related). Link: https://www.netnanny.com

The key to protecting children from grooming is to continuously monitor online interactions with not only strangers, but known/trusted individuals as well. These aforementioned software systems can help you do so in a well controlled, user-friendly manner.


6 Summer Child Safety Tips for a Safe and Happy Summer

June 13, 2019 Uncategorized

Summer vacation is upon us, which could pose new safety problems for our children. Here are some helpful tips to keep summer hazards at bay:

1. Always be prepared by bringing water

Never expect that there will be a source of water at your destination. Fill up water bottles to bring along and if possible, put it in a cooler.

2. Know the warning signs of dehydration

According to Medicineplus.gov, these can include:

  • Irritability
  • Dry mouth
  • Crying without tears
  • Eyes that look sunken in
  • Lack of urination for 3 hours or more
  • Excessive drowsiness

3. If at a pool or beach, always be attentive to your child’s whereabouts

Never assume that a lifeguard has eyes on your child. Drowning can happen in just 18 seconds, and most often occurs quietly. This means that your child may not scream, splash, or shout for help. Additionally, 67% of all drownings (CDC.gov) occur in a backyard setting.

4. Do not leave children in a hot car

A hot car can reach 109 degrees in just 10 minutes and can be fatal. If needed, place important items (such as your phone or purse) next to your child in the car.

5. Cool down hot seatbelts before your child straps in

Seatbelts pose a burn risk. Cool the buckle down by applying a cold compress and make sure there is a barrier between your child’s skin and the belt.

6. Use sunscreen

Apply sunscreen about 30 minutes before going outdoors, even on cloudy days. Use generous amounts and reapply often, especially if swimming or excessively sweating.


Remember, summer is most fun when everyone is safe and healthy!


October Campaign: Patient-Centered Care

November 12, 2018 Uncategorized

As October comes to an end, we would like to thank all of SCCAC professionals for their never ending hard work and compassion. Patient-centered care is a practice that is very meaningful and valuable to us at the SCCAC. We  strive to always put the needs of children and their families first in order to ensure they feel comfortable and safe. Throughout the interviews with team members, we have seen an abundance of true care provided to the families we serve. For example, the children and families have victims advocacy available 24/7 and medical exams are offered to all children at no cost. It is crucial that both the child and their caregivers feel supported throughout their healing process.  We are here to ensure that every child and family in need of SCCAC services feels supported and safe to share their story.

To report a suspicion of child abuse or neglect, please call the Department of Children and Families 24 hour hotline at 1-800-842-2288.

Remember, if you need help call the Connecticut’s Alliance to Stop Sexual Violence Hotline 24 hours a day.

1-888-999-5545 (English)

1-888-568-8332 (Spanish)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Principle 6: Involvement of Family and Friends

October 29, 2018 Uncategorized

The South Central Child Advocacy Center collaborates with various mental health agencies to assist children and their families with the healing process. The Bridging Program is a unique program that personally reaches out to the victims and encourages the caregiver and child to come in for treatment. The treatment process consists of 5-8 sessions that focuses on preventative care and uses evidence based treatment methods. These sessions focus on helping the child find ways to manage their symptoms as well as assisting their parents throughout this process. The “Involvement of Family and Friends” principle is an aspect that is essential to the work done at the Bridging Program because of the significant role that a family plays in the victims’ lives. Incorporating the families into the treatment plan is a vital component for providing the child with a solid foundation that is necessary for their recovery process. When a child is a victim of abuse, their families struggle too. Providing these services to the entire family is a way to ensure that recovery is occurring in all aspects of the victim’s life.

“It is important for a caregiver to be involved, most importantly for the child’s recovery, but also the parents recovery as well.” -Kristen Hammel, LCSW, Trauma Services Coordinator

Principle 8

October 24, 2018 Uncategorized

As October comes to a close, we would like to focus on the importance of access to care; another core principle of patient centered services.  At the Rape Crisis Center of Milford, children and families have access to care whenever they need it through their 24/7 hour hotline. Their Victim Advocates can provide immediate services, at no cost, which include crisis intervention, referrals for therapy, assistance with accessing transportation to appointments, accompaniment to the hospital and court. Please follow the link below for more information about the Rape Crisis Center of Milford https://www.rapecrisiscenterofmilford.org/.  

 

“Patients need to know they can access care when it is needed. If transportation is an issue, we will make the necessary arrangements to provide services.” – Peggy Pisano, MDT Coordinator and Director of Victim Services  

Principle 5: Physical Comfort

October 22, 2018 Uncategorized

The clinicians we partner with are passionate about providing children and their families with mental health treatment amidst their traumatic experiences. One example includes creating a space that the child can feel physically comfortable in. The clinicians allow the child to choose where they would like to sit, play with toys and provide a physically comfortable spot. They educate the child and provide them with crisis management. This physical comfortability includes working on relaxation and mindfulness techniques which they can utilize both inside and outside their therapy sessions.

“The most important thing is that a client relationship is formed and that everything else is left outside. We need to be a safe space for the client.” – Raysa Florentino, Clifford Beers Clinic

Principle 4: Coordination and Integration of Care

October 17, 2018 Uncategorized

Family advocates play a neutral role when supporting families from the time their child discloses of abuse all the way through the court process and beyond. Three advocates at Clifford Beers CATCH Program shared how they assist families in meeting basic and emotional needs while navigating the criminal justice system. Many families face challenges when first accessing assistance. These advocates walk alongside the family through the process, help answer questions, make referrals to assist in meeting basic needs, and provide education on victims rights and the dynamics of abuse.. The advocates shared that most children and their caregivers feel overwhelmed or even frightened by the words “DCF” or “Police Officer”. An advocate can help by educating them about the involvement and role of these professionals. These advocates hearts are full and are ready to help both children and their families when they need it. These services are free and available in both English and Spanish.

“In English, all the information we give can be confusing to parents and children, imagine hearing it in a different language it’s like a whole other world. We are here to help assist those families that need translations in order for them to fully understand and comprehend the process.” -Maria Negron-Hart, Family Advocate-Clifford Beers

The New York Times: Why Women Can Take Years to Come Forward With Sexual Assault Allegations

October 15, 2018 Uncategorized

“The number of false reports is vastly overestimated. Common responses to trauma are often viewed as evidence of unreliability…” Read more about why victims of sexual abuse can take a while to report their assault: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/18/us/kavanaugh-christine-blasey-ford.html

 

Principle 3: Information and Education

October 10, 2018 Uncategorized

Our medical providers play a vital role in meeting the needs of the children and families served by offering specialized medical exams at no cost. This includes providing information and education to help ensure that the children feel comfortable and educated about their bodies. By giving the child an opportunity to talk about their bodies, it can help make them feel protected and supported.

 

“We don’t want the child to feel revictimized, therefore we don’t have any surprises. We educate them through the entire visit to ensure they’re comfortable” – Dr. Lisa Pavlovic, Yale Child Abuse Clinic Medical Director.

 

Principle 2: Emotional Support and Alleviation of Fear and Anxiety

October 8, 2018 Uncategorized

This principle is something that is widely practiced at the South Central Child Advocacy Center, especially by our Child Life Specialists (CLS). CLS work with children and families to help them cope with all sorts of challenges. They provide information, support, and guidance to the children, parents, siblings, and other family members . Child Life Specialist, Victoria Isaacson prioritizes providing emotional support and making sure that the child is coping successfully throughout the appointment.

“The child is our main focus from start to finish” -Victoria Isaacson, MA, CCLS, NCC

Exit Site