As a Parent
Primary caregivers have a significant role to play in helping to ensure that culture/arts experiences are as safe and respectful as possible for their children.
Ask questions of the cultural organizations.
Are there Codes of Conduct I place for leaders/instructors as well as participants? Are they publicly available?
Does the responsible organization conduct criminal record checks on all staff and volunteers?
Are there clear and publicly available policies and procedure in place for handling complaints and incidents?
Who do you speak with if you have a concern about possible bullying, abuse, harassment or discrimination?
What protocols are in place to ensure that adults are never alone with a child/youth? Are there clear safety policies for any group travel?
Does the responsible organization offer any kinds of respect or awareness education o staff/volunteers/caregivers/ participants?
Learn to spot bullying, abuse, harassment or discrimination.
If you suspect bullying, abuse, or harassment, watch for:
- Unexplained marks or injuries;
- Notable changes in behavior – such as increased anger or isolation
- Notable changes in personality – depression or anxiety
There are many online resources that can help you and your team identify and prevent situations of bullying, abuse or harassment:
Be mindful of your child’s time online, watch for:
- Be clear with your children about Internet use. Discuss good use and some of the possible dangers.
- Be proactive in finding out who your kids are talking to online by spending time with them while they are on the Internet. This includes activities they are doing on their cell phone.
- Keep your computer in a public area of your house.
- Consider using parental controls on computers and cellphones
- Make sure they know not to post explicit pictures of themselves online to people they do not know. Beware of what you are sharing on webcams. Explain to your child that everything sent over the Internet could last there forever.
- Reinforce to youth that people online may not be who they say they are.
- Encourage open dialogue with your kids and offer “No Questions Asked Bailout” as a safety net if they feel they could be in danger.
If you are concerned about discrimination, watch for:
- Your child being left out of programs
- Your child being treated differently from others in group activity;
- Inequities in service to different individuals based any grounds covered by the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code.
Speak directly to your child.
If you are concerned about possible abuse or bullying of your child or by your child:
- Start by creating a supportive environment in which they can talk.
- Ask open-ended questions and avoid putting words in their mouths.
- Remember that your anger or threats against others will not be helpful to your child and may cause them to close down.
- Support your child in refusing to take part in bullying or harassment.
Report any issues.
Report possible physical or sexual abuse by adults to the police (you may also wish to inform the cultural group). Child protection laws in Saskatchewan state that anyone who knows or suspects that a child is being abused must report this to the appropriate child protection or criminal justice authority.
If the situation involves bullying, harassment, verbal or emotional abuse or discrimination, report the situation directly to the cultural organization. Do not try to take matters into your own hands.
One commonly expressed concern by parents of children or youth is that once a complaint is brought forward there may be retaliation against the child or their family by the respondent, parents of the alleged bullying children or the organization itself. This fear of retaliation can prevent some from bringing forward complaints and helping improve safety for children and youth.
Organizations with formal complaint procedures should also have a “no retaliation” section in those procedures. When bringing a complaint, it is wise to ask if this is the case and how this “no retaliation” policy is enforced.
If you are seeking assistance with how to report, how to bring forward a complaint, retaliation for making a complaint or where the complaint should be made, please contact the Respect Resource Line at 1-888-329 4009. This line is available to all adult members and participants in SaskCulture 7 days a week and 365 days of the year.