A letter to you

A letter to you, from our Co-Chairman:

Dear Friend, 

When I was the Head of Crimes against Children for INTERPOL, I was repeatedly asked, “What can we do to prevent child sexual abuse – instead of waiting for it to happen?” It did not matter what country I was in, from Europe to the Middle East to Australia or North America. People were interested in learning how to prevent this horrible, horrible crime.

I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, so prevention is particularly important to me. As a 42-year veteran of law enforcement, who worked for over 26 years as a detective on sexual assault and child abuse cases, I have seen more victimization from sexual assault than any one human being should ever have to see. It is a devastating crime, the effects of which last a lifetime.

In the United States, we only have to look as far as the USA Gymnastics Team, the Boy Scouts of America, the Penn State Football scandal, and the child abuse scandals within the Catholic Church, to name a few cases where organizations that work with, or for children, failed to prevent abuse from happening. Millions of dollars have been paid out by these institutions to some of the victims of these crimes – though their pain and suffering never goes away.

Around the world, U.N. Peacekeepers have been charged with sexually assaulting those they were assigned to protect, including withholding food and aid unless the victim complied with their demands. Such abuse of power is both disgusting and disturbing. Our most vulnerable are being abused because they are vulnerable and struggling just to live. It is predatory behavior at its worst.

What can be done to prevent child abuse?

Organizational and institutional child abuse, child abuse in sports, and child abuse by peacekeepers can be prevented. The overall approach to child safeguarding is rooted in understanding the risks to children from the organization’s staff, programs, and operations and addressing those risks with robust measures that create safer organizations. Our standards work, but it takes time and money to work with organizations, implement these policies from the top down, and provide the necessary staff training and support.

Preventing child abuse in organizations, institutions, and sport takes more than policies and procedures; it requires leadership, accountability, and culture change. It means transforming the entire mission of the organization to put the rights, dignity, and safety of children at the heart of every decision.

I hope you will make a commitment to join me. You can be part of the solution by making a generous donation to Keeping Children Safe USA, a 501 (c)(3) organization, contributions to which are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. Your generous gift will make a difference in the lives of children and your own children or grandchildren when they are engaging with organizations that are entrusted with their safety. 

I believe in this organization and their work so much that after I retired from INTERPOL, I became the Co-Chairman of the Board to help prevent this most heinous of crimes. I take no salary whatsoever. None! It is that important to me. Additionally, we do not use professional fundraisers who keep a portion of your donation. We are a lean, frugal, and dedicated organization that makes every penny count. There is so much work to be done, but we can’t do it without your help. 

YOU have a part to play. Whether you are a community member, coach, religious leader, CEO of a corporation or organization, an insurer, attorney representing corporations and organizations, teacher, or troop leader, be a hero for children. Beloved American entertainer Fred Rogers (Mr Roger’s Neighborhood) once said, “Anyone who does anything to help a child in his life is a hero to me.” True heroes give of themselves to help others who need help. Isn’t that why you’re here? Does it matter whether it’s my children, your children, or a child from Brazil or Africa? They’re children, and they deserve our support and protection. So please put words into action and fund our work today. Help us break the cycle of child exploitation and abuse. Your generosity really does make a difference. 

Thank you for your time and effort. I sincerely appreciate you.

Best regards,

Robert A. Shilling Jr.
Co-Chairman, Keeping Children Safe USA
Former Head of Crimes against Children for INTERPOL     

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