Swift Current 2016: A Time for Change
Posted byon January 06, 2016
On Monday and Tuesday of this week, two powerful articles were published by The Globe and Mail and CBC News. Swift Current Mayor Jarrod Schafer spoke to The Globe and Mail on how the community has faced years of invisible damage and is now breaking the silence and bringing the issue of child abuse to the forefront. Following this release, a story by CBC News presented Schafer’s formal apology to the victims of abuse that occurred during their time in Swift Current.
On behalf of the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre, we commend the leadership of Mayor Schafer for acknowledging the victimization of a number of youth by Graham James while in Swift Current. His formal apology is truly a profound gesture and an act of courage as the community begins to make way for change and new beginnings. As stated by Sheldon in The Globe and Mail, “people who want to hurt kids seek out the organizations that don’t have the proper prevention and background checks in place.” The Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre’s data indicates that 97% of child abuse victims know their abusers, which is consistent with research throughout the country.
In moving forward, Swift Current is setting a precedent by implementing the ‘Safe Places’ certification and registration process for anyone who works or volunteers with minors. Those who engage with children will be “youth certified” – including a police background check and special training on how to become better role models. The Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre congratulates the city on its efforts. Swift Current’s example and leadership is truly setting a precedent and a call to action for communities across Canada to take a similar position in keeping our children and youth safe.
On Friday, January 8th, 2016 the city will officially launch the “Safe Places” initiative while screening the “Swift Current” documentary to a sold out crowd. On Sunday, January 10th, Sheldon Kennedy will be presented with the WHL Alumni Achievement Award by the WHL and the Swift Current Broncos for the extraordinary leadership role he has played in the awareness and prevention of child abuse. We congratulate Sheldon on this achievement and are grateful for his tireless efforts in transforming how our communities respond to child abuse.