The Child Abuse Investigation Team is a working partnership between the Chatham-Kent Police Service and the Chatham-Kent Children’s Services. The team consists of two police officers trained in the dynamics of investigating child abuse, and are teamed up with two child protection workers. The team is based out of the Chatham-Kent Children Services at 495 Grand Avenue West in Chatham.
This investigative partnership was formed to meet the needs of these very sensitive cases involving children. A joint investigation eliminates repeated interviews, which are difficult for children, and ultimately expedites a completed case. The role of each investigator is different. Police officers are focused on the criminal aspect while the child protection workers are focused on protection issues. The objective, however, is the same; stop the present abuse and protect the child from being exposed to further abuse.
An estimated 120 cases of child abuse are reported annually in the Municipality of Chatham-Kent. Studies have discovered the reported cases represent only 10% of actual abuse cases in society, which indicates a definite need to educate your child on this subject.
Educating your Child
- Communication between you and your child is key.
- It is important that your child understands he or she may come to you openly with their concerns.
- Educate your child in a calm atmosphere…Do not frighten them.
- Use phrasing such as, Good Touch and Bad Touch giving examples for each.
- If you have difficulty in discussing this subject, find literature to assist you. A good pamphlet regarding this subject is “Red Flag, Green Flag” and can be obtained at the Chatham-Kent Integrated Children’s Services.
- Educate yourself first.
- Understand the elements of sexual and physical abuse so you can be aware of potential signs.
- Be aware of significant changes in your child’s behaviour/demeanor.
- If your child has become withdrawn or suddenly shows signs of dislike, fear or disconnection to a certain individual you should act on it and discuss your concerns.
- Remember child abusers require an opportunity to assault a child and in most cases are known to the child.
- Be aware of your child’s activities.
- Get involved. Ask questions and be present at their extracurricular functions.
If Your Child Discloses
- Listen openly
- Allow your child to talk about their experience without interruption.
- Support your child during the disclosure.
- Do not react in a negative emotional manner in their presence.
- Do not ask questions. It is important to allow the trained investigators first opportunity to question your child.
- Immediately contact the Police or Chatham-Kent Integrated Children Services.
Safety Tips For Children
- Always tell your parents where you are going, with who, and when you will be home.
- Do not go with anyone unless arranged by your parent.
- Always tell your parent or someone you trust about someone or something that makes you feel uncomfortable.
- Never keep a bad secret, no matter who the person is or what the person has said to you.
Chatham-Kent Bears For Kids Program
The Chatham-Kent Bears for Kids Program came into being as a result of a partnership between the Masonic Lodge, the Chatham-Kent Telephone Pioneers and the Chatham-Kent Police Service in January of 1999.
Purpose of the program is to provide "Teddy Bears" to youngsters who are suffering as a result of traumatic situations, such as:
- Family violence, where a child or parent is removed from the home
- Assault or sexual assault, where a child is removed from a residence for their own safety, OR where a child needs to be interviewed with regard to an assault or sexual assault at the police station or at the Children's Aid Society.
- Where children are victims of a criminal act, such as a break and enter into their home and the child's property is stolen or vandalized
- Given to children at an accident scene, where a child is traumatized and a Cuddle Quilt does not get them to settle down