寄付・募金・ボランティアのセーブ・ザ・チルドレン・ジャパン

Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami Emergency response and recovery program

child protection

Protecting Children from All Forms of Violence – The Importance of the CAP Program (June 13, 2013)

What do you think of when you hear the word “violence?” Violence is not limited to physical affronts such as hitting and kicking. Actions that deeply hurt a person’s heart also count as violence. The CAP Program aims to protect children from the many kinds of violence, including bullying, groping, kidnapping, abuse and sexual violence. It helps children acquire knowledge and confidence in themselves. CAP stands for Child Assault Prevention, a program that contains a chest full of wisdom that protects children from all forms of violence.

The CAP Program was conducted in May 2013, in, Iwate prefecture. It was the first cooperative program between the Japan Committee for UNICEF and Save the Children Japan (SCJ), both of which have been involved in support activities in disaster affected areas of Japan. We invited a lecturer from J-CAPTA (the Committee for UNICEF) to speak and hold a workshop and discussion. Three sessions were organized from May 27 for after school program, gakudo staff and those involved in the operation of gakudos, in five regions of Iwate prefecture (Ofunato, Rikuzentakata, Kamaishi, Otsuchi cities and Yamada-machi). Over the three days, 81 people took part in the program. On May 30th, adults who support children on a daily basis at the Yamadaminami Elementary School Afterschool Children’s Club or gakudo in Yamada-machi were provided with a program to help them understand the basic concepts behind CAP.

The traditional method of violence prevention is based upon prohibitions or restrictions of action, by saying, for exmaple, “Don’t do…” CAP takes an alternative approach that expands the participants’ choice of action by saying, “You can do…” This approach is based upon the belief in a child’s innate abilities. Rather than treating children as weak citizens that adults need to protect, we say that every child has three rights: to live “in peace,” “with confidence” and “freely.” We aim to raise a participant’s awareness to confront violence such that these important rights are maintained, and to consider together what they can do when someone tries to deprive children of their rights of “ease,” “confidence” and “freedom.”

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Trainer Ms. Ishizuki, is a professional of easy-to-understand speaking and “listening” skills.

Specifically, children learn to protect themselves by: (1) NO (say “No”), (2) GO (escape, or leave the area) and (3) TELL (consult). NO, GO, TELL.
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Through a simple skit, the message that they are allowed to say “no,” and “escape” or “consult with someone” is given. For example, “violence” is shown to be when someone makes them do what they don’t want to do, by giving an order like, “Carry my bag every day when I go to school.” Also, through role-plays, the importance of saying “no” with courage, or telling perpetrators so with a friend if they find it difficult to do so on their own is provided. The importance of consulting with an adult such as a teacher or parent is emphasized.

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“Carry this bag!” “No! Carry it yourself!” “Yeah, you shouldn’t do what you don’t like.”

Sakurai from the SCJ Tono Office joined the session and actively participated in the workshops and discussions with gakudo instructors.

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He commented, “It was an opportunity that made participants enjoy learning in a friendly natural atmosphere. Desks were cleared out of the way to arrange seats, and the workshops mirrored the actual situation children usually find themselves. We also had plenty of time for conversation among the instructors.” About the trainer Ms. Ishizuki, he said, “It was very impressive that she had such a good understanding about children and made comments about the situation in which instructors are placed. I would like to apply this learning in my future activities.”

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Sakurai said, “At any time, instructors were free to share their thoughts and comments, and there was an exchange of questions and answers. I felt it was participatory training of a high level.”

Gakudo instructors who participated in the training made the following comments:

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  • I learned about “violence.” To hurt someone’s heart is also regarded as violence. I had to check that I am not the one using violence.
  • It was an opportunity for me to think everything over again. How I should deal with children in a place like gakudo. First of all, I agree that it is important to “listen.”
  • I can confirm the importance of talking to children.
  • Besides this basic training, I wish to take further training, such as a program for junior high school students or a program for children with disabilities
  • As I have experienced very similar situations to that introduced in this workshop, this training was very useful for me. I want to apply this knowledge in practice.

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In a friendly atmosphere, opinions and comments were actively exchanged.

For children between their home and school, the Afterschool Children’s Club or gakudo is a place where they can relax and return to their natural selves. Gakudo instructors have unique opportunities to listen to children and understand their attitudes. To prevent violence against children, it is important for children to learn how to protect themselves. However, it is also essential for adults around children to show their understanding, to listen to children, accept their feelings and think with them from a child’s perspective.

Trainer Ms. Ishizuki said, “At home, children get told off by their parents, and feel pressure to be a “good child”. At school, children cannot escape from acting as a good child, because that is where they are evaluated. Therefore, children express themselves and carry their stress to gakudo. They are seized by their own desire to count on adults, get attention from people and be taken care of. So, although gakudo instructors require a lot of effort to perform their work, they also bear a very important role.” These words must have inspired gakudo instructors who participated in the program.

Whilst undoubtedly valuable, this training still has limitations when dealing with the various forms of serious bullying that occurs in the real world. It is essential that we keep talking about how we can apply what we have learned from this training in actual real life situations, and how we can provide more practical training. SCJ is committed to providing more training for gakudo instructors, always with the aim of creating better environments for children.

(Reported by Miki Oikawa, Great East Japan Earthquake Reconstruction Support Department)

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You can feel the early summer in Yamada-machi where the white clovers are shining.

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The repair of the collapsed breakwater has been promoted, but we still more need time to complete the reconstruction.