Blatt Afram, (pronounced: blout a-from) which translates as “Straight Forward,” is the leading grass roots child sexual abuse (CSA) prevention organization in Iceland. Blatt Afram was formed in 2004 by twin sisters, Svava Brooks and Sigga Bjornsdottir who themselves were sexually abused as young children growing up in Iceland but who sought to turn around their misfortune by helping others.
Blatt Afram’s mission is to end the cycle of child sex abuse and break the conspiracy of silence around this most devastating and pervasive social issue by educating adults and creating greater awareness within the community, media and government. By shedding a light on this dark subject and speaking openly about their own abuse, Svava and Sigga have influenced recent legislation and statutes, created awareness of CSA and supported numerous abuse victims to come forward. In short, these two sisters have influenced a nation and helped many children and adults seek help, something that was almost completely unavailable previously.
Blatt Afram is actively involved in educating all adults who work with children and teenagers on how to look for the signs of sexual abuse, and what potential steps should be taken if they suspect a child is being abused. Sigga and Svava have trained teachers, day care workers, outreach centers, after school programs and sports organization – virtually anyone who comes in contact with children. They also have given numerous talks to teenagers at high schools and other forums across the country, speaking openly about their own abuse while educating people, young and old alike, about this most delicate and difficult subject. Their message is one of hope, healing and progress, not blame and anger.
In 2004, Blatt Afram with the cooperation of Darkness to Light, a US-based CSA prevention organization, translated into Icelandic and mailed a copy of the “7 Steps to Protecting Children” to every home in Iceland. And, starting in 2005, Blatt Afram held its first annual International Conference on Child Sexual Abuse Prevention.
Blatt afram´s primary focus is on primary prevention with education and powerful PSA messages. This focus has created an environment and public support, where Blatt Afram´s CSA prevention education for adults, teens and children is now a routine eduction in most public schools in Iceland.
For more information on Blatt afram and the prevention programs that are being offered please email email@example.com
Since its foundation in 2004, Blátt Áfram has
provided primary and secondary prevention education in Iceland, utilizing a
model from a nationally recognized NGO in the United States. In the last few years Blátt áfram has received a number of requests for partnerships and training in other countries. Programs that Blátt áfram recommends and provides with trainings in other con tries. Prevention
training and education programs include:
7 Steps to Preventing Sexual Abuse of Children –
an informational booklet for responsible adults. This literature on prevention
has been distributed to each Icelandic household.
Darkness to Light Stewards
of Children – a training program for sexual abuse prevention.
This training is provided to adults, parents, and professionals who work with
children and teenagers. The program is designed to equip adults with
step-by-step training to prevent, identify, and respond to cases of child
sexual abuse. Darkness to Light originated in the U.S. and Blátt Áfram has been
providing this training in Iceland since 2006.
“Kids on the Block” – An interactive puppet show that originated
in the United States. From 2005 to 2012, “Kids on the Block” was performed
throughout Icelandic elementary schools for children 7 to 11 years of age.
Beginning in 2012, “Kids on the Block” has been run by a government agency, shown to children 7 years of age only.
Important note. Although the show is designed for a younger audience, the program’s
reach extends beyond the confines of this age group, as it is also used as a
tool to help adults understand how children communicate. While the performance
conveys the message to children that it is okay and necessary to tell someone when they are in need of help, it also serves as a message to adults that it is their
responsibility to make sure children know how to ask for help, as well
as be able to identify when a child is in need of help.
There is an emphasis that adults, specifically teachers and school
staff, must be prepared with education about child sexual abuse, how children
disclose information, how to respond to disclosure, and the importance of
reporting. Through this production, Blátt Áfram asserts the need for social
services, e.g., a school counsellor on staff, to properly handle reports of
child sexual abuse, as well as serve as a resource for children to get the
support they need.
“Secrets” – child sexual abuse
prevention education for children in the form of an animated film, designed for
children ages 5 to 12. The purpose of the film is to educate children about the
difference between good and bad secrets, as well as how to distinguish between
secrets and surprises. In addition, a lesson is delivered on how to say “no”
when someone is making them feel uncomfortable or asking them to keep a secret
from parents or caregivers. The animated film is supplemented with coloring
sheets and discussion questions to solidify the learning objectives.
This prevention education has been provided in Iceland, in
collaboration with the city of Reykjavik, since 2010. Each year the film is
shown to 3rd graders by school administrators and teachers.
for Teenagers – A prevention program designed for teenagers 12 to 15 years of age.
This integrative approach involves Blátt Áfram materials in conjunction with
the 7 Steps to Preventing Sexual Abuse of Children literature. Engaging
activities that involve acting and cooperation with one another are facilitated
to promote further communication among the teens. This interactive presentation
provides education about what is sexual abuse, who abuses children, and how to
get help. In addition, there is a discussion about sex and the damaging effects
of drugs and pornography. This
prevention program aims to create a forum where teens are encouraged to ask
questions in a safe, non-judgmental environment.
Each year since 2004, Blátt Áfram has provided public service announcements
(PSAs) via media outlets such as television and radio commercials, as well as
newspapers and interviews. These efforts have created greater awareness among
the public on the issue of child sexual abuse, as well as education about
Research has been conducted on the effectiveness of
educational programs and materials provided by Blátt Áfram in Iceland. Additional information can be provided on this
Blátt Áfram has expanded its global reach and is now providing consulting
and support services in other countries such as Greenland, Hungary, India,
Latvia, Sweden, Uganda, Rumania and Hungary.
Blátt áfram has trained facilitators in Hungary, Greenland and Sweden. If you are interested in partnership for the prevention of child sexual abuse in your country please send an inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org
As a leader in child sexual abuse prevention in Iceland, Blátt áfram shares examples of the good practices in preventing
sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children. In summary:
To most effectively prevent sexual exploitation and
sexual abuse of children, the government must be onboard with an understanding
of the importance of primary prevention, i.e., the training of adults to
prevent, recognize, and report sexual abuse of children. Government support in
conjunction with continuous, awareness-building Public Service Announcements
designed to disseminate information to help adults understand the prevalence of
the risk of child sexual abuse, are effective preventative measures. Included
in these public awareness messages is a Call-to-Action, advising adults to
pursue each of the following: 1) further prevention education for adults and
parents; 2) spell out a step-by-step process for identifying and reporting
abuse; and 3) provide information about places where adults can go for
assistance and support if they suspect a child is being abused. With these
PSAs, Blátt Áfram carefully avoids scare tactics, but rather, aims to educate
and empower people by providing them with the information to overcome. For this
reason, Blátt Áfram takes a rounded approach by, not only raising awareness
about the problem, but also the solution.