10 Quick Tips

Educate yourself to take effective action against potential sexual abuse.

Learning the facts about childhood sexual abuse is your first step and the best way you can defend your children. To protect your kids, you need to understand the nature of the problem. How high is the risk? Who abuses and how do they gain access to kids? It's shocking to learn that 1 in 10 kids will be abused in the US by age 18. But it's important information. Learn more of the facts HERE.

While teaching kids rules regarding strangers is important, research shows that 90% of all sexual abuse occurs with people that are known and trusted by the victim and family. So don't limit your precautions to cover only strangers and online predators. Most likely, the abuser's identity will come as a shock, hitting closer to home. Learn more of the facts HERE.

Name body parts and talk about them with young children. Use “doctor names” for body parts. Knowing the correct names for body parts will help children in the event they need to report an abusive or scary situation. 

More than 80% of sexual abuse cases occur in isolated, one-on-one situations. Organizations should establish rules so these kinds of encounters cannot occur. Research your sports team, youth and religious groups, and schools to make sure they have a good sexual abuse prevention policy in place.

 

Children need to know that it is never okay for anybody to tell them to keep a secret about a private part or activity involving anything that makes them feel uncomfortable, scared or uneasy. Once a person asks to keep this type of secret from your parents it is an automatic red flag. Teach kids to report all red flags to you for safety. 

Help your child to identify emotions, noticing tell-tale feelings in their body. When they have a bad day ask open-ended questions. Begin to label feelings with the colors red/uncomfortable and green/okay. Encourage kids to share their successes, failures, and reach out for help when they need you. And teach them to follow their gut when a person feels threatening or creepy, even if it's an adult they know well.

Online pornography has become the a new anonymous sexual abuse predator. Kids can see images and videos they are not developmentally able to understand or handle. Discuss with children the dangers online. Naked photos or inappropriate websites should be reported to parents or caregivers.

 

Introduce the topic of consent early. Nobody has the right to touch your child without their permission. Kids need to know they can say no to a hug or other forms of affection. Teaching kids the power of no and their rights to privacy and respect will help children stay safe, speak up and tell. Teach kids to ask for consent, listen for a clear answer, and respect the answer.

If your child is at a playdate, sporting event, church activity and they want to leave for any reason it is important to establish a no-questions-asked code word. Your child can call or text you the code word and you can go pick them up immediately. This comes in handy when they may find themselves in an uncomfortable circumstance. A red flag code word can help your child get out or evade an uncertain or scary circumstance before there is an urgent problem.

If a child reports an abusive event to you, while it's entirely natural to be upset, try to remain as calm and neutral as you can manage. A child may shut down and stop communicating to you about an event if they sense you are very upset. If the child sees you becoming very emotional about the incident it may compound a sense of guilt that the child may harbor.

 

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