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Child Protection Training by Thammasat University

From 4 to 8 January 2021, the Working Group to Care for and Protect Abused Children of Thammasat University Hospital delivered a week-long child protection training course to twenty child care service providers from across Thailand. Led by Dr. Wanida Pao-in, this in-person and online course covered child abuse; child physical, cognitive, and emotional development stages; interviewing children and parents; roles of social workers, child psychiatrists, law enforcement; laws governing child protection; practical measures and steps to assist children and their guardians.

Training scholarships totaling 6,000 Thai baht were given to two SafeguardKids members, Snow White Smelser and Phaephirat Jearmsilpa, who actively participated in case studies, role-plays, and discussions.

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Educational Programs Resilience weSafeguardKids

Child Safety Online

Children must continually be reminded to not accept friend requests from people they have never met face-to-face. Many child sex offenders create fake online profiles to gain the friendship of children to possibly abuse. They use photos of children of the approximate age they are sexually attracted to and use clues found in the targeted child’s profile to convince the child that they are in the same peer group. Additionally, children should not post photos, texts, check-ins, or page-likes that identify what school they attend, where they live, or where they frequently hang out. These details help child sex offenders make in-person contact with the child possible.

For guidance on how to teach children to protect themselves online from sexual abuse, read the #Netsmart handbook by Save the Children Sweden. This handbook is available in English and Swedish.

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Educational Programs Resilience

Empower Children

Warn children about the techniques used by child sex offenders, particularly grooming and sextortion. Many child sex offenders coerce the child to keep the sexual abuse a secret, so inform children which kinds of secrets are okay to keep and which are not. Let children know that they can talk to a trusted adult, child helpline, or school counselor if someone is bullying them by threatening to share indecent photos of them – in other words, sextorting them.

Talk to children calmly, openly, and appropriately when they ask questions about sex. Children can be taught to protect their bodies and to say no to inappropriate touch. For more on how to educate children of varying age groups about sexual abuse, read the Body Boundaries guide for parents and guardians by Save the Children Sweden, available in English, Spanish, and Swedish.

With more and more children using smartphones, the number of children taking and sending sexual photos and videos of themselves – a form of “sexting” – is also growing. Children should be informed of the risk of sexting. Once their sexual photos and videos are passed to another person, the child will no longer have control of who else accesses their material. Once their material is shared onto the internet, the material will remain online forever. For instance, the sexual photos a teenager sends to her boyfriend while they are “in love” can later be uploaded by the boyfriend out of spite or vengeance during a dispute or break-up.

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Educational Programs

Grooming Children

Child sex offenders often record the sexual abuse they commit and share their self-produced child sexual abuse material with others. Child sex offenders also show child sexual abuse material to potential child victims, grooming them into believing that sexual acts between a child and an adult are normal behavior. In short, child sex offenders use child sexual abuse material as trophies of their criminal conquests and as a tool to groom new victims online. Child sexual abuse material should not be available, since it is evidence of a crime against a child.

Alcohol & Drugs

Law enforcement agencies confirm that a significant number of child sexual abuse cases involve drugs and alcohol. Child sex offenders often lure children with offers of alcohol and computer games in attempt to form a bond of trust and understanding. For non-compliant children, some offenders first drug then sexually abuse the child, since they can more easily overpower and control drugged and drunken children. Some offenders go even further by creating a drug dependency to lure the child back.