360 stand

360 Stand offers training to youth agencies on how to identify and respond to suspected cases of child abuse. (360 Stand)

Former Saint John police chief Bill Reid has taken on a new role to help the city's most vulnerable.

Reid is the program coordinator for 360 Stand, which works to reduce family violence and child abuse through education.

The group created a manual tailored to local youth organizations that teaches them how to look for signs of abuse and how to respond to suspicious behavior.

"There have been incidents in our city where folks had some information, and had they come forward with that information … we may have been able to mitigate those situations a lot sooner," Reid said Thursday in an interview with Information Morning Saint John.

Funding groups also have a role to play in keeping children safe.

Reid said corporations and organizats should require child abuse training as part of their criteria for funding requests.

"You want to make sure the folks you give money, or grant money to, have taken recognized child abuse training. Those are thing types of things we're trying to achieve," he said.

Screening checklist

Saint John has some history with sexual predators in plain sight in the community.

A class action lawsuit has been filed against the city by alleged sexual abuse victims of former city police officer Kenneth Estabrooks.

And former Saint John councillor and youth ministry leader, Donnie Snook, was sentenced to 18 years in prison after pleading guilty to 46 sex crimes against children.

'Children cannot speak for themselves so it takes an adult, someone else to bring that forward.' - Bill Reid, 360 Stand

Reid says people need to know how to intervene if they suspect a child's safety might be at risk.

"When you have an indication, that you make that phone call to the Department of Social Development and police, that you don't sit back and wait for someone else to do that," he said.

"It's hugely important that you get there first. Children cannot speak for themselves so it takes an adult, someone else to bring that forward."

Reid was one of the presenters at this week's child safety panel, hosted by Big Brothers Big Sisters Saint John.

The organization has worked on a list of red flags to help it detect potential abusers among its volunteer pool.

Reid says all groups working with children should be just as prepared.

"[Some organizations] have limited training or non-existent training … so they're thankful there's a program out there, with experience as well, that can be taught to them," Reid said.

"I can talk about 37 years of experience as a police officer … so they get the theory, they get the experience to understand the makeup of our city in terms of child abuse."

360 Stand is the brainchild of Judith Irving and Mary Lynch, who felt the city was lacking in educational programs on documenting and reporting child abuse.