Participation in Canadian Red Cross violence and abuse prevention programs
increasing

    
    Hockey Canada and Red Cross continue partnership that trains 30,000
    coaches annually
    

OTTAWA, Sept. 21 /CNW Telbec/ - The consequences of violence and abuse can be devastating and long-term for the individual, the family and the community. In addition to physical injury, psychological impacts can lead to depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, delinquency, non-productivity, adult crime and suicide. The Canadian Red Cross, through its violence and abuse prevention programs, is reminding Canadians that violence and abuse are preventable tragedies.

From March 2008 to March 2009, more than 220,000 children and youth participated in Canadian Red Cross presentations on abuse, relationship violence and bullying, representing a 5.8% increase over the previous year. Adult participation increased by 66% with over 60,000 adults taking part in education and training programs. Nearly 30,000 of those adults were Hockey Canada coaches and volunteers, required to take an in-person workshop tailored to prevent bullying, harassment and abuse in the hockey community: Speak Out: It's More Than Just A Game.

The Canadian Red Cross and Hockey Canada partnership began in 1997 after former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy revealed that he'd been sexually abused by a former coach. Other players subsequently came forward with allegations of hazing, bullying and abuse. Speak Out was written and developed in collaboration between the Canadian Red Cross and Hockey Canada. The curriculum includes definitions of abuse and harassment, responding to disclosures, risk management strategies for showers and locker rooms, road trips, prevention of harassment and abuse during competition, and fair play codes. Hockey coaches also have the option of taking a similar program on-line called Respect in Sport which is a partnership between Respect Group Inc. and Canadian Red Cross. Also, all western Canada Junior Hockey players are required to take a workshop preventing abuse and harassment in hockey and also a workshop about healthy dating relationships. Additional workshops are available to every other sport.

Violence and abuse are not inevitable. They are preventable tragedies. For example, when youth stand up and speak out against bullying they are successful in stopping the bullying behaviour 57% of the time in about 10 seconds. Also, young women who had not received sexual abuse prevention education in childhood were twice as likely to have experienced child sexual abuse than those who had participated in such a program.

Today the Canadian Red Cross violence and abuse prevention program, RespectED, is marking its 25 year anniversary with a conference in Ottawa. Speakers include Todd Jackson, Hockey Canada's Senior Manager, Safety and Insurance and Dr. Sinha Wickremesekera from the Canadian Red Cross "Be Safe" program in Sri Lanka. Be Safe is a personal safety program with the goal to prevent sexual and physical abuse against children ages five to nine provided in a collaboration between the Canadian Red Cross and partners in Sri Lanka.

The Canadian Red Cross helps people affected by emergencies and both human-caused and natural disasters. Its 30,000 highly trained volunteers provide for emergency needs like food, shelter, emotional support and family reunification. All Red Cross assistance is provided free of charge thanks to financial support from individuals, organizations and community-minded corporate donors. Canadians are always welcome to donate to the Red Cross to support its disaster management programs, online at www.redcross.ca, by calling 1-800-418-1111, or in person at any Canadian Red Cross office.

SOURCE Canadian Red Cross

For further information: For further information: Canadian Red Cross local public affairs or 24-hour media relations line (613) 740-1994


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