As one of ChicagoCAC’s prevention education specialists, Laura Daily does her work with a quiet dedication to the children and families of Chicago. Read what Laura has to say about her role in empowering parents to seek knowledge and support before and after sexual abuse happens, and educating professionals about how to prevent child sexual abuse in their workplaces.
What brought you to ChicagoCAC? What keeps you here?
I have worked in a CAC for the last 14 years and I have been at ChicagoCAC for almost 5 of those years. In my previous work, I have always been a part of the response to different traumas, which included some prevention work. This job is the first time that my major responsibility is to provide primary prevention services. I stay because I believe by providing education sessions to professionals, community members, and parents/caregivers, I have a great opportunity to make a significant impact on keeping children safe from sexual abuse. I stay because I want to stop abuse before it starts.
ChicagoCAC offers a variety of prevention trainings. What’s your favorite topic to present on and why?
My favorite topic to present on is our “Keeping My Family Safe” for parents and caregivers. This session addresses primary prevention in a way that’s different from all other education sessions. Parents and caregivers provide the foundation for positive and healthy relationships for youth. This session encourages and supports caregiver’s abilities, as well as struggles, in preventing, recognizing, and responding to child sexual abuse. We offer support in a way that is respectful of various cultures and beliefs.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is telling a caregiver that they have done things that help prevent child sexual abuse. It’s so easy for parents to feel guilty and overwhelmed by everything they hear about sexual abuse. My job is to support parents with information about what they have done well and offer guidance and resources about what they struggle with. It’s empowering for parents to know that prevention is possible.
All trainings moved online as a result of the pandemic. What has it been like for you to present in the virtual environment vs. in person?
The pandemic has allowed us to be more creative in the way we offer support to families. The virtual environment has facilitated a way for us to reach large groups in a safe and flexible way. With such a sensitive topic as child sexual abuse, the anonymity of virtual spaces may allow for more people to feel safe attending these sessions versus having to appear in person. The challenge is making sure that we offer support during and after sessions in a way that makes attendees feel comfortable and supported. The connection with your audience can feel really different in a virtual space, but still really powerful and important. As we move forward, I believe virtual spaces will continue to be a large part of how we share information.
How do you guard against burnout? What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
I have worked in trauma services for over 30 years. The only way that I can provide those services well to families is to take care of myself. I do yoga every morning, I love to cook, spend time with my family, and definitely take vacations.
What are you excited about for the future at ChicagoCAC?
I’m excited that ChicagoCAC has been creative in the way that we have continued to support families. From tele-health to virtual education sessions to continuing to provide in-person investigative services, we haven’t stopped working for our families. This makes me believe that whatever the challenge, the CAC will excel.