Team Zero is an ever growing collective of individuals and organizations committed to bringing the rate of child sexual abuse in our communities to…zero.
How it Began
In 2014, the Traverse Bay Children’s Advocacy Center launched a child sexual abuse prevention initiative called TEAM ZERO.
The mission of Team Zero is to create an aware, empowered community, willing and able to prevent child sexual abuse. Team Zero accomplishes this mission by arming the community with facts, tools and resources to keep children safe.
The stated goal of Team Zero is to provide child sexual abuse prevention training to 5% of the adult population in the Grand Traverse region. This target was chosen based on the prevailing community organizing tenant that at least 5% of a group must engage in an initiative in order to see cultural shifts in thought and action. Census data for the five-county region indicated that 5% of the adult population is equal to 6,772 participants.
To date, TBCAC has trained a total of 5,872 adults in less than three years, putting us on track to meet our goal of 5% by September 2018.
TBCAC uses two training modules to deliver prevention education. The first is a nationally recognized two-hour, evidence-based course called Darkness to Light: Stewards of Children (D2L). This curriculum has been particularly effective in reaching those adults from the education, childcare and healthcare sectors – groups that include many sexual abuse mandated reporters. All Traverse City Area Public Schools employees have completed the D2L course and we are seeing growing interest from school districts in outlying counties.
The second child sexual abuse training module is appropriate for any adult audience. Talk, Protect, Report (TPR) is an hour-long program that focuses on the information that every adult should know to be an informed advocate, providing specific guidance on how to talk to children about sexual health and what to do if they suspect abuse. TPR was rolled out in 2017 and we anticipate that it will be an effective way to significantly expand our reach.
Team Zero also participates in outreach events that raise community awareness about child sexual abuse. The Kid’s Cherry Pie Make and Bake hosted by Grand Traverse Pie Company at the National Cherry Festival reaches 400 children and adults every year. Other outreach events have included a public viewing of the movie The Hunting Ground during Child Abuse Prevention Month in April 2017 and a School’s Out event at Little Fleet in Traverse City.
In 2016, TBCAC launched the Team Zero website to serve as a resource for concerned adults looking to become better informed about child sexual abuse or seeking tips on talking with children at varying developmental stages about their bodies and appropriate boundaries. It also provides guidance on how to report suspected child abuse. Subscribers receive a bi-weekly e-newsletter with relevant content to continue informing and encouraging Team Zero members. The Team Zero Facebook page is another channel used to connect with the community.
You Can Join the Team
Between D2L, TPR, community outreach activities, and communication efforts, the Team Zero message has engaged over 7,500 adults and youth in the Grand Traverse region. Team Zero invites everyone to join together to keep children safe. Your commitment matters. Our community depends on it.
Together, we can make a difference.