Our National Project
The following links include various project ideas that can help your Exchange Club make a significant contribution in the area of child abuse prevention. Whether or not an Exchange Club Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse has been established in your area, these projects still enable you to make a hands-on difference in your community – one child at a time.
Project Safe Childhood
Guided by the leadership of the Attorney General, Project Safe Childhood (PSC) works to stop sexual exploitation crimes against children through the internet.
PSC calls for a comprehensive effort—by law enforcement and non-law enforcement partners—to increase awareness about these dangers to children, to educate parents and children about Internet safety, to identify and help children who may have been victimized, and to build communities in which America’s youth can thrive without fear of sexual abuse and exploitation.
The list below are just some of the ways you can get involved. For more details click here to find the PSC Coordinator in your area. You can also visit the PSC website: www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
Parents can be the eyes and ears of law enforcement. If they see evidence that someone is attempting to target their child for exploitation, they can take action by reporting to law enforcement any suspected illegal activity or behavior against children.
There are several Department-sponsored resources on the internet to help educate parents on the dangers their children face and assist parents in maintaining a safe home internet environment. For example, NetSmartz (www.netsmartz.org), i-Safe (www.isafe.org), and Web Wise Kids (www.webwisekids.org) offer extensive educational resources for parents.
PSC coalitions should seek to find ways to engage and involve parents. Activities could include hosting parent and community forums, and inviting investigators from ICAC task forces or other agencies to conduct prevention and educational information sessions. Investigators can also address emerging threats such as social networking sites. PSC partnerships should explore these and other opportunities to participate in meetings with parents and children to discuss related prevention and safety information.
While the internet is a valuable educational tool, schools must teach children about online dangers, the ways in which predators can use the internet to target them, and what children should do if they are solicited inappropriately.
Many schools have developed or adopted educational programs focusing on internet safety for their students. However, many have not yet established or adopted internet safety programs. Local PSC partners need to be aware of the safety programs and other educational systems being used in their district, and they should identify areas and schools that do not currently have programs in place. The local partners have an opportunity to assist these schools in creating or adopting programs.
In many instances, children and teens respond better to messages received from peers, and they may be more willing to share information regarding their experiences with peers. PSC partnerships should consider providing relevant information and resources to youth organizations, such as Boys and Girls Clubs, Boy and Girl Scouts, and others, to further the goals of teaching kids about internet safety.
Community-based organizations are, by their nature, established to provide a public service to the community. They provide a variety of resources through community outreach programs. They are a good resource for law enforcement in their effort to educate children and parents on dangers the internet can pose to children in the community.
State and local law enforcement associations and chapters
These organizations can serve as an important mechanism through which individual investigators and prosecutors can share experiences and educate one another about how best to investigate and prosecute these crimes. In addition, such groups can serve as effective partners for training and outreach.
Local businesses and business organizations
Local businesses are important partners in any community. Many businesses serve as good stewards to their community by investing in community programs and initiatives. It is a natural partnership for businesses and law enforcement to work together to invest in the safety of the children in the community. All businesses are encouraged to take action to alert law enforcement to any inappropriate use of the internet by their employees to access child pornography or to entice minors.
Victim service providers
As law enforcement works to bring offenders to justice, it is vital that we also place a focused priority on the needs of the child who has been victimized and exploited. The committed and well-trained individuals who work in the victim service field are often the first to come into contact with the victim. Victim service providers are also best able to understand the needs, both physical and emotional, of victims. They assist law enforcement in conducting forensically sound interviews with victims, coordinating investigations, identifying additional victims, and ensuring that victims are treated in a way that is sensitive to their needs, while providing law enforcement the maximum opportunity to investigate and prosecute the crime.
A faith-based organization is in a unique position when dealing with a child victim, as well as with the families of those victims. Many religious organizations provide counsel and safe shelter to children and their families, as well as any health care the victim may need. Working with PSC partners, faith-based community can play a crucial role in protecting, healing, and ministering to the child long after his/her abuser has been brought to justice. PSC partners should consider providing relevant information to these organizations.
Media outlets are uniquely suited to helping PSC partners educate their local community about the dangers the internet poses to children and the steps that parents and children can take. PSC partnerships should seek ways to engage media outlets in furthering the goals of PSC, such as through public service announcements.
Family advocacy organizations, child-serving organizations, and non-governmental organizations
These groups and other similar grassroots organizations can teach parents about the dangers the internet poses to children, how to talk to children about these dangers, and the resources available to parents and schools.