To prevent child sexual abuse, it is important to keep the focus on adult responsibility, while teaching children skills to help them protect themselves. Consider the following basic tips:
Observe – Show up unexpectedly and at random times to places where your child is – sports games, music lessons, while with the sitter, etc. This lets those around your child know you are involved in your child’s life and interested in all the people he/she interacts with.
Nurture – One of the best protections is having and open and trusting relationship with your child. Show your children they can talk to you at any time and about anything.
Talk –Talking to your child before abuse happens is the best prevention. Find out more about Talking to Kids.
Listen – Be approachable. Carefully listen, hear and respond without judgment.
Share – Share your thoughts, feelings, fears, values and dreams. Encourage your child to do the same.
Believe- Validate what your child says and NEVER blame them.
Understand – Familiarize yourself with childhood sexual development, sexual behaviors in kids, and the warning signs of abuse.
Know – Abusers will use a process called grooming to draw their victims into a sexual relationship.
Trust – Listen to your instincts if a situation feels odd or person makes you uneasy.
Educate –Talk to other adults about sexual abuse. It raises awareness, offers support and puts others on notice that you are on it.
Protect – Make careful, slow choices about the people you include in your child’s life and fast choices about the ones you exclude.
Monitor – Stay aware of your child’s activities during playdates.
Restrict – Set clear rules about access to the internet and take sensible precautions about what videos, TV shows and films children watch.
Strengthen – Build resiliency in your child and family by cultivating protective factors.
Respond- Take immediate action if you suspect abuse. A quick response is essential to ensuring the best possible outcome.
Question – Ask detailed questions about play dates, sleepovers (who will be present, will older siblings be there, will there be internet supervision), summer camps and day care situation. Click HERE for more info.