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Keeping Children Safe From Sexual Predators

Friday December 15th 2006

Keeping Children Safe From Sexual Predators Choose With Care

The jailing of two men in Gore for sexual offences against teenage girls they met through the Gore Operatic Society is a wake up call for all organisations that aim to provide a 'safe environment for children'. Sexual predators seek out opportunities to meet and abuse children by gaining the trust and confidence of their families and communities. Convicted sex offenders in New Zealand this year included a music teacher, Cub Scout leader, police officer and teacher's aide.

At this time of year many parents will be enrolling their children in activity programmes for the summer holidays.

'It's important parents check the organisations they trust with care of their children are safe. A good child protection policy, clear guidelines and information for parents and children on how child safety works is a must.' Jane Foster, National Director of ECPAT New Zealand said.

ECPAT is bringing Choose with Care - an award winning child protection and crime prevention programme to New Zealand in April 2007. Choose with Care was conceived in 1992 by ChildWise (ECPAT in Australia) as a result of a growing awareness that sex offenders were targeting and infiltrating organisations in order to access children. It was clear this issue required careful attention.

Choose with Care provides a proactive, preventative and participatory approach to building and maintaining child safe organisations. Choose with Care aims to inspire child focussed organisations to gain a greater understanding on child abuse, to recognise how it can and does exist in organisations and assist them to take decisive, informed and manageable steps towards establishing a child safe environment.

'ECPAT believes Choose with Care is an important tool for organisations seeking to create a child safe environment and to 'predator-proof' themselves. ECPAT welcomes enquiries for its national Choose with Care workshop series.

ENDS

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