A one-of-its-kind ranch for child victims of sexual abuse is being set up in Western Canada’s prairie province of Alberta.
Set to open in fall this year, the Little Warriors Be Brave Ranch will serve as a treatment centre and help sexually abused kids forget and heal the traumas they had faced in their lives. The healing process would involve, besides medical treatment, several confidence-building exercises, courses and activities to help kids lead healthy lives.
According to their website, the Be Brave Ranch offers an evidence-based treatment program that combines multiple proven therapies for children ages 8-12. It starts with an initial 20-day period at the Be Brave Ranch, during which they form close relationships with the 7 other members of their peer-group (“cohort”). This is followed by long-term therapy and support for the child and their family lasting a full year. During this extended period, children come back to the Be Brave Ranch for 3 other 7-day periods for further therapy and to reconnect in person with their cohort.
During the one-year program there is more than 200 hours of diverse therapy for children and their families run by clinical professionals, and offering a unique program including:
• Intensive trauma focused behavioral therapy (TF-CBT)
• Art therapy
• Play therapy
• Music therapy
• Recreational activities
• Peer group (cohort) support
Therapy is provided in an enriched “camp-like” environment in which children also have lots of fun. Being in cohorts helps each child recognize they are not alone, and gives them peers who have experience similar traumas. The children form long-term relationships with deep bonds, and these also help the children heal.
The Be Brave Ranch is said to be the only one-of-its-kind centre in the world.
Sexual Abuse Statistics:
1) Eighty-five per cent of child sexual abuse victims know their sexual abusers. (1)
2) In British Columbia, more than one in three street or marginalized youth had been sexually exploited by men and women; males were as likely as females to be sexually exploited; 60 per cent of sexually exploited youth are Aboriginal. (2)
3) In a study with Toronto street youth, one-third of these youth had experienced severe physical or sexual abuse or both.(3)
4) Young women who had not participated in a school abuse prevention program in childhood were about twice as likely to have experienced child sexual abuse as those who had participated in a prevention program. (4)
(1)Oesterreich and Shirer, 2001.
(2)Saewyc, McKay, Anderson and Drozda, 2008, It’s not what you think: Sexually exploited youth in British Columbia.
(3)Fidler, Wekerle and Erickson, 2007, The Youth Pathways Project (YPP): Childhood maltreatment and health outcomes among Toronto street-involved youth.
(4)Gibson and Leitenberg, 2000, Child sexual abuse prevention programs: Do they decrease the occurrence of child sexual abuse? Child Abuse and Neglect.