DRESS PURPLE DAY 2017: OACAS and CASs work with schools to raise awareness about child abuse prevention

On October 24, 2017, OACAS, Children’s Aid Societies (CASs), and key partners marked Child Abuse Prevention Month with a provincial DRESS PURPLE DAY to raise awareness about how it takes a village to keep kids safe. Click on the campaign Twitter hashtags #IBREAKtheSilence and #SpeakUp4Kids to see the purple wave of enthusiasm that swept the province.

This year’s campaign, which is the 25th anniversary of the purple ribbon campaign, achieved greater engagement with a broader base of participants than in years past. October was officially proclaimed Child Abuse Prevention Month in the Ontario legislature, through the passage of Bill 170, and Hon. Michael Coteau, Minister of Children and Youth Services and Minister responsible for Anti-Racism, donned the DRESS PURPLE t-shirt and talked to grade five kids at Toronto’s Cassandra Public School about what it means to have a “village” keep them safe.

In response to Inquest Recommendations into the deaths of Jeffrey Baldwin and Katelynn Sampson, OACAS and CASs took great strides in increasing their engagement and collaboration with schools to raise awareness about child abuse prevention. Well over 300 schools and 37 Boards of Education participated in DRESS PURPLE DAY.  Inquest recommendations included the need to develop age appropriate curriculum for students about child abuse and neglect, to raise awareness about duty to report with school staff and the public, and to support collaborative projects between CASs and Boards of Education.

Schools across the province also used specialized classroom resources developed by OACAS, in collaboration with Boost Child & Youth Advocacy Centre and Windsor-Essex Children’s Aid Society, to support teachers to engage in conversations about safety and well-being with students from JK to Grade 5.

Even the CN Tower, a provincial landmark, showed its support for by lighting up in purple on the eve of GO PURPLE DAY. OACAS and its partners are grateful to all those who made this year’s campaign such a success.

Hon. Minister Michael Coteau asks youth at Cassandra Public School, what makes a village? Teachers, principals, parents…everyone helps keep kids safe