Timmins child sexual abuse survivor says the crime can be preventable with the right education

With many families isolating during the COVID-19 pandemic, children are turning to their electronic devices to fill the time. 

Rosalia Rivera gears her social media platform to teaching adult-child sex abuse survivors how to keep their children safe with prevention tools and strategies because she too is a survivor.

“Children of unhealed sexual abuse survivors have a five times greater chance of being abused because the parents are not educating their children because they shy away from this topic," she said.

And, she added, she wants to give all parents skills. 

“I really approach this from the perspective of ‘let’s empower our kids’ since abuse case numbers are climbing in the country during the pandemic.”

The Canadian Centre for Child Protection reported in February that with more youth spending time online during the pandemic, CYBERTIP.CA has seen an eighty-eight per cent increase in reports about sexual exploitation of children.  Rivera said the abuse is preventable with the right education.

"Because people will test a child to see what they know so if they have the right language it's like a warning signal that this child is being educated; they're not going to be an easy target so maybe hands off," she said.

Timmins Police Service released its 2020 annual report recently and its e-crimes unit conducted eighty-two forensics examinations of electronic devices last year and forty-five percent of those related to child exploitation.

“It’s a pretty wide scale of the depravity involved in this type of activity, but thankfully we have the officers specialized in downloading the necessary exhibits that we can use as evidence at trial," said Marc Depatie, communications co-ordinator for the Timmins Police Service.

Rivera also suggested families draw up a media agreement that outlines rules for using electronic devices safely and responsibly; and to continue checking in with their children to find out who their chatting with when they're online.