Wilmington University Teams up with Darkness to Light for Stewards of Children Certification
Tuesday, May 1, 2012 - New Castle, DE
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Janice Tigani, Deputy Attorney General of the Delaware Department of Justice
It goes without saying that child sexual abuse is a very complex problem. Although there is no substitute for the advice of professionals, the Wilmington University athletic department took a major step forward in educating itself in ways to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse through the Darkness to Light Steward of Children program on Monday night.
Janice Tigani, the Deputy Attorney General from the Delaware Department of Justice, instructed 50 Wilmington University athletic department members, including 28 of which were coaches, staff and administrators.
The audience was asked to take part in a pre-program test on knowledge and information on child sexual abuse off hand prior to the three-part video, questioning and answering portion of the program. Following the three-step program, the audience was asked to take part in a post-program test to review and acknowledge that facts and stats of what was learned through the evening.
The statistical analysis and frightening numbers were what most people in attendance took away from the program.
“The stats were eye opening and made me look at things in a different light,” athletics compliance coordinator and head softball coach Erin Harvey said. “It’s staggering to think on a team of 20 players that 1 in 4 girls or 1 in 6 boys have potentially be through something that hasn’t even crossed my mind before.”
Associate athletic director and head baseball coach Brian August took the stats on a more personal level, having three young children of his own.
“Being a father, the numbers are unreal,” August said. “It created knowledge that I normally wouldn’t be thinking about. It just shows me what Wilmington University is all about that they want us all to take part in something like this.”
Tigani and the accompanying video took the audience through 7 Steps to Protecting Our Children, not only helping each individual in their personal lives, but enabling any member of the athletic department that will come in contact with children through camps, clinics, and instructions throughout the summer. The seven steps covered: learning the facts and understand the risks, minimize opportunity, talk about it, stay alert, make a plan, act on suspicions, and getting involved.
“The program was very beneficial for student-athletes and coaches and for anyone that is going to be a part of camps or clinics,” Harvey included. “My team is full of education majors that can not only use this information for camps, but later in life as their career develops as well.”
Knowing how to get involved and staying alert for any possible signs of sex offenders and sexual abuse was the final message from Tigani, something student-athletes and coaches as future camp counselors were able to easily take away from the program.
“The information is good to know because it is something going on all over the world and anyway we can learn to prevent or stop it is a good thing,” junior behavioral science major and attacker on the women’s lacrosse team Liz Case said. “Working at Villa Maria in Baltimore, I have seen the side effects and results of child abuse first hand and the program was very relatable to what I want to do when I graduate.”
“The preventative measures were most beneficial to me in dealing with summer camps and teaching in the future,” junior men’s soccer midfielder and sports management major Ray Kuemmer said. “Knowing that anyone has the right to report abuse was surprising but also can be rewarding because we have the power to stop it, not only the authorities.”
To be able to run a camp or clinic on the Wilmington University campus, all head coaches and counselors will be required to be certified through the Steward of Children organization by completing this one night informational session.
“It’s great that Wilmington University is taking part in the Stewards of Children initiative to raise awareness,” August continued. “It’s great that we are on board with this.”