627 – Tools to Help Protect Vulnerable Victims

Tools to Help Protect Vulnerable Victims

Pam Bruce, judging in Orlando.

Host Laura Reeves is joined by Pam Bruce, a 32-year veteran of the Toronto Police Department where she was a sex crimes investigator. Pam was also Canada’s first acknowledged expert in this field.

With recent arrests that have dramatically impacted the purebred dog world, everybody’s asking what the American Kennel Club is doing. Pam is the individual who has trained all of our AKC reps, staff and board members already.

Her presentation from which today’s podcast is drawn will be available to everyone in Canine College starting this month. Today’s episode is an excerpt of this critically important presentation. Watch the full conversation HERE.

“We can all be empowered by knowledge,” Reeves said, “and the knowledge that Pam has to share is what is going to make us all more able to handle the situations that we’ve been handed.”

“Sex assault itself (is) intimate sexual contact with a person without their consent,” Bruce said. “And a young person does not have the capability of offering consent, the same as somebody that’s vulnerable. (It may be) accompanied by force or even threat of force …

“It’s not for sexual gratification of an offender. It’s all about power and control. But the big problem for us in our sport is it’s living in the gray areas, and that comes from non-reporting. The first time an offender was caught is not the first time they offended. And when you speak to the experts about this, they say on the low end, the average of sex assaults that have been committed before an offender has been even on their radar is at least seven.

“So let me just drill down a bit with vulnerable victims. A vulnerable person can be identified as someone who belongs to a group within our society, so think of dog shows, that is either oppressed or more susceptible to harm.

“Anyone under the age of 18 years, or an older (person) who has an impairment due to physical, mental, or emotional function. One who is unlikely, unable, or incapable to report grooming, sexual abuse, physical abuse, or neglect situations.

“Now let it not be lost on anyone that the offender is the one that chooses the victim. And it’s often for that exact reason that that person has a lack of capability and if they do have capability or someone to assist with that reporting, will they be believed? We must report on their behalf or assist them to do so.

“The bigger issue for us and for society is what about the undetected offenders? Due to non -reporting, we don’t know what we don’t know. Child victims know their offender 94 percent of the time.

“These people are our village, but there are victims in our village and offenders in our village and we know them, we love them. We believe we know their full being, but does anyone ever really know anyone?

“’Grooming behaviors’ is the idea of a perpetrator forming relationships with children. If you see an adult and they’re really not friendly with a set of parents, but they’re spending a lot of time around their children, I periscope up right away. I want to know why or if it’s somebody vulnerable, someone disabled. If they’re helping them, that’s wonderful. But there is a line that should not be crossed, which is the next point, testing boundaries. Perpetrators will try to test boundaries on your child’s comfort level.”