Child sexual abuse detective: This is what I tell ALL parents before their kids go to school camp

A former child sexual abuse detective has revealed exactly what all parents should know before they send their children off to school camp. 

Kristi McVee has ‘seen and heard everything’ over the span of her career and says it’s simply impossible to ‘wrap kids up in a cotton ball’.

‘We have to ensure they have the tools to go out into the world and be prepared for it,’ the ex-Western Australian police officer said in a video. ‘We can’t shelter them but we can give them a proper education around abuse.’

She recommends all parents speak with school camp organisers ahead of time to ensure they’re satisfied with all precautions taken and are aware of the processes in place should anything happen.

Most of all, Ms McVee said it was absolutely essential for parents and care givers to have ‘difficult’ conversations with their children about consent and their body.

Kristi McVee has ‘seen and heard everything’ over her career as a child sexual abuse detective

‘If you’ve never had a conversation around body safety rights and that it’s not okay for anyone to touch your child’s body, then you should really make sure you kids have those lessons before they go anywhere without you,’ she said.

‘My [16-year-old] daughter has been having those conversations with me since she was three so I’m pretty confident, but it never hurts to touch up on that.’ 

What should you tell your child when it comes to safety? 

Ms McVee recommends parents introduce hypothetical scenarios to their children in a safe space and walk them through possible solutions.

She shared a few questions she’s asked her daughter in the past: ‘What could you do if someone approached you that you felt uncomfortable with?’; ‘What could you do if someone was taking photos or videos of you that you didn’t want them to take?’

‘This is giving them a scenario that they can then find ways they can get help from.’

In terms of practical solutions, Ms McVee stressed the importance of having ‘safe’ adults children could get to.

Former child sexual abuse detective reveals what you should tell your children about safety 

If someone approached approached you that you feel uncomfortable with:

‘If you feel uncomfortable around someone, move away from that person, get support from friends and find an adult/teacher you feel safe with and let them know you were feeling unsettled.’

What could you do if someone was taking photos or videos of you that you didn’t want them to take?

‘If you feel comfortable you can ask them to stop. If they don’t stop, go and find a safe adult/teacher and let them know that you asked them to stop but they wouldn’t and you didn’t give them consent.’

What could you do if someone was following you?

‘Immediately seek out friends or other people and then find a safe adult/teacher you feel comfortable with and let them know what is happening.’

What can you do if you need to get out of a situation where you’re being forced, or someone is harming you?

‘If you feel safe and confident to do so, tell them loudly to STOP, YOU ARE HURTING ME (you have permission to scream, yell, get angry) and then move away if and when you can. As soon as possible, seek support, find a safe adult/teacher you feel safe with and tell them what happened.’

Source: Kristi McVee, for FEMAIL

Ms McVee has a family safety code word her daughter uses when she’s uncomfortable.

‘If she’s at a sleepover and something’s wrong, she can message me and I then know she needs me to intervene. It will trigger a response from me as a safe adult.’

Ms McVee also touched upon school camps. 

‘In the case of camps, what can you do if someone makes her uncomfortable? Or worst case scenario, what can you do if you need to get out of a situation where you’re being forced or someone is harming you?’

A teacher recommended parents request a list of staff members attending and their phone numbers.

‘It’s all right not to send them if you don’t want to or if you think they’re not ready,’ she added.

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