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A smiling woman holding a soft toy lion

Cerys cuddles Roarry. Image credit: Cerys Morgan.

Teaching children safeguarding messages can feel daunting. Where do you start? Roarry and his Ranger Club, is a new teaching resource for children created by Thirtyone:eight to be used by children’s workers, safeguarding practitioners, parents, and anyone with a duty of care to children in the church. Cerys Morgan tells us more about how Roarry can help children speak up when something doesn't feel right. 

Content warning: this post mentions sexual abuse, which some readers may find upsetting. Please take care when reading.

“I was so surprised on Christmas morning when opening a gift-box from my son, as there inside was Roarry the Lion looking up at me. My heart skipped a beat as I was so thrilled and emotional to receive this gift. As you can see from the photo, I sat cuddling him.

To me this was such a precious gift and he now sits watching over me from my dressing table. My son said to me 'I knew I had to get him for you because of his significance, and what he stands for is so important to you. I knew you would love him!' It's not just the fact that he is such a cute cuddly toy, but, my son is so right.

Roarry represents enabling children to have courage to face their fears and to learn how to ‘roar’ when situations are so wrong. He is the face of a teaching resource by Thirtyone:eight that I wish was in use when I was younger. Roarry is a character that fills me with hope for the safeguarding of children in our churches today.

I met my abuser at the age of ten. He was a deacon and treasurer and also involved with the Sunday School and youth work. Our church had no safeguarding at all, which was not unusual in those days. Any conversations surrounding abuse and safeguarding was taboo.

I was abused up to and including my 20th birthday. There was no one that I could turn to and I was completely trapped. Twenty years later I had to face up to my past. My abuser was still in the church and his behaviour had not changed.

When fighting with my fears over reporting to the Police, I pictured a balance scale of justice. I pictured myself and my past in one scale, and in the other scale the many children and young people at our church. I knew which scale outweighed the other. I had to protect all the children and young people that my abuser still had access to.

I had to face my fear and with the courage of a Lion, to ‘roar’ and throw myself on God’s strength. That ‘roar’ changed my life and completely changed my character. For me, holding Roarry on Christmas morning represented all the years in getting to where I am today, and I was holding a hope in children being protected, taught and not having to suffer as I have.

I cannot appeal enough to all involved with children’s work to use this teaching resource and support Thirtyone:eight and protect many young lives.”

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