SAFETY AT YMCA of Greater San Antonio
The YMCA of Greater San Antonio works in partnership with parents and guardians of children in Y programs to protect children from abuse. To keep children in our programs safe, we take the following steps in our intensive screening of employees and volunteers:
• Detailed application forms
• Comprehensive interview process
• Personal and professional references
• Criminal record checks/fingerprinting
• Employees complete an extensive child abuse prevention training program.
• Staff AND volunteers are mandated to report any suspected child abuse.
• Staff are not allowed to babysit children they meet through the YMCA.
KNOW THE FACTS
We want all children to be safe. However, child abuse does exist, taking many forms: emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, as well as child neglect.
IT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY AS ADULTS TO PREVENT, RECOGNIZE AND REACT TO CHILD ABUSE. ALL ADULTS, ESPECIALLY PARENTS, NEED TO KNOW THE FACTS, BE AWARE, AND ACT APPROPRIATELY.
SIGNS OF ABUSE
• Abrupt changes in behavior, anxiety, clinging, aggressiveness, or withdrawal
• Discomfort with physical contact
• Fearfulness or depression
• Abuse of other children
• Avoidance of a particular person or refusing to go to a friend’s or relative’s home for no apparent reason
• Sexual language or behavior that is not age-appropriate
• Unexplained bruises, welts, burns
• Unkempt or malnourished appearance
• Disturbed sleeping or eating patterns
• Sexually transmitted diseases and infections
WHY ARE CHILDREN AFRAID TO TELL?
• The abuser tells the child that their parents will be angry.
• The abuser confuses the child about what is right and wrong.
• The abuser tells the child that they will hurt their family member if the child tells.
• The abuser tells the child it is a game or a secret.
• Children think it was their fault or that they should have done something to prevent it.
• The abuser may encourage the child to break the rules set by their parents, causing the child to fear punishment.
A key to keeping children safe is a child’s ability to seek help. They need to know that there are adults at the YMCA of Greater San Antonio and at home who will listen and respond in a supportive way.
CHILD ABUSERS CAN BE PARENTS, CARETAKERS, FRIENDS, NEIGHBORS, OR EVEN OTHER YOUTH.
Talk to Your Child– Share with your child that they can say “NO” to an adult friend or a family member or an older child if they act inappropriately.
Be Proactive – Create an environment that encourages children to share their views and concerns and really listen to them. Establish safety rules online and offline.
WHAT TO DO
IF YOUR CHILD DISCLOSES THAT SOMEONE HURT, SCARED, OR MADE HIM/HER FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE, LISTEN AND STAY CALM.
• Understand that your reaction has a powerful influence on your child.
• Believe your child and make sure your child knows it.
• Thank your child for telling you and praise your child’s courage.
If faced with your child disclosing abuse or if there is a situation where you suspect, but are not sure or don’t have proof, call the child abuse helpline and get support. Trust your gut and your instincts and take action.
If you would like to report a suspicion that a child has been harmed or is at risk of being harmed by abuse or neglect, call the Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-252-5400
IF YOU BELIEVE A CHILD IS IN IMMEDIATE DANGER OF HARM, CALL 911 FIRST.