Iqaluit adults learn how to respond to child sexual abuse

The City of Iqaluit and the Embrace Life Council are teaming up with Voice Found, a national non-profit organization, to hold several workshops in Iqaluit this week. They are meant to help adults recognize signs of abuse among children.

Voice Found is holding the free workshops until Thursday

Cynthia Bland (left), the founder and president of Voice Found, is leading workshops this week that teach adults how to recognize, react to and respond to child sexual abuse. (Vincent Desrosiers/CBC)

The City of Iqaluit and the Embrace Life Council are teaming up with Voice Found, a national non-profit organization that works to prevent child sexual abuse, to hold several workshops in Iqaluit this week. 

The goal is to teach adults how to recognize signs of sexual abuse in children, in a territory where Statistics Canada says the rate of sexual offences against children and youth is much higher than the national average.    

Cynthia Bland, the president and founder of Voice Found — and herself a survivor of childhood sexual assault — is personally teaching the free two-hour course, called "Stewards of Children."

She says that in 90 per cent of instances, children know their abuser, and that 60 per cent of the time it is someone the child's family trusts.

"When you think about that, it's really difficult for a child to come forward and disclose how they can find the words to say that somebody they love is abusing them," she said.

Dawn Scott, the director of the Iqaluit Youth Home, took part in the workshop yesterday.

"I'm a parent. I have seven children of my own. So it's just a no-brainer for me. It's crucial."

The workshop is also being offered today and Thursday and registration is still open.