Ways to help prevent child sexual abuse
• Learn to be alert and in tune with your child’s feelings and behavior in order to identify warning signs.
• Encourage open communication with your child about body safety and healthy boundaries.
• Over 80% of abuse occurs in one adult/one child situations. Minimize these risky situations.
• Insist that all youth programs have policies that protect children from potential abuse. If they can’t show you a written policy, don’t let your child participate in them.
• Drop in unexpectedly when your child is with another adult, a babysitter or at a daycare facility.
• Establish and supervise clear rules for your child’s computer use, including no private or closed door use.
• Teach your child to ”listen to their inner warning radar.” If the situation doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. This is the #1 most important thing for your child to learn!
Body safety rules
Teach your child these important body safety rules so they will feel empowered to say “no” to an inappropriate touch and to keeping secrets. It communicates to a potential predator that the child is off limits.
• No one is allowed to touch or look at your private parts and you should not touch or look at anyone’s private parts.
• Your private parts are what is covered by a bathing suit and are kept out of view. We don’t look at, touch or play games with each other’s private parts.
• No one is allowed to take pictures of your private parts or to show you these kinds of pictures.
• When playing with friends, always play with clothes on.
• You are allowed to have privacy when bathing, dressing and using the toilet.
• You have permission to say “NO” and run away if someone breaks any of your body safety rules.
• "We don’t keep secrets in our family. If someone tells you to keep a secret, tell a trusted adult." Help your child identify several trusted adults they can talk with if they are uncomfortable at any time.
The following are questions to ask your child after a party, event or visit where you were not present.
Asking these questions will tell you if your child experienced anything that was inappropriate or concerning. Ask your child privately whether or not he/she had a good time.
• How did you spend your time?
• What was your favorite part of the party, event or visit?
• What was the least favorite part?
• Did you feel safe?
• Were you ever uncomfortable?
• What would you change next time?
The misuse of trust
The ability to trust is something we count on in our life. It is a vital part of our ability to function day-by-day in society. But our trust is something that can be manipulated by others, putting the children we love and care about at risk for child sexual abuse (CSA).
Jeri Evans offers a stunning and powerful look at how CSA perpetrators may be hiding in plain sight right in front of you. Read or download her article here.