WAYS TO PROTECT YOUR CHILD FROM SEXUAL PREDATORS

Awareness is the biggest deterrent to child sexual abuse. Here are some ways you and your children can protect yourselves:

1.CREATE AWARENESS AND SUPPORT.

Encourage children to discuss their feelings no matter how small or how big or what the topic. Having an open mind and encouraging dialogue and communications shows your child that you are the one to turn to when there is a serious problem.

2.  BE SUSPICIOUS OF ANYONE WHO WANTS TO SPEND ALONE TIME WITH YOUR CHILD

Take steps to ensure that your child is always in the company of other children and/or their parents when they may be near adults who could pose a risk.

 

3. REALIZE THAT IF YOU CHILD IS ABUSED YOU WILL MOST LIKELY KNOW THE PERPETRATOR

The majority of child sexual abuse perpetrators are people who the parents and the child know usually from their family or another adult who the child has regular contact with. Most child sexual abuse predators are trusted individuals, such as family members, teachers, coaches, babysitters, family friends and church officials.

4. UNDERSTAND SEXUAL ABUSE HAPPENS EVERYWHERE, EVERY DAY AND THAT ANY CHILD IS AT HIGH RISK.

5. CREATE A FAMILY PLAN AND ROLE PLAY WITH YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT POTENTIAL DANGERS AND GIVE THEM TOOLS TO RESPOND TO POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS SITUATIONS.

You might include the following:

  • Teaching your child to say no to any verbal communication or physical act that makes them feel uncomfortable or scared

  • Discussing other forms of abuse such as sharing of pornography with minors

  • Discussing what is safe or appropriate touching

  • Teaching your child to leave anytime they feel unsafe in a situation and to tell you about it right away

  • Assuring your child that they will not be in trouble if they tell you about inappropriate conduct they experienced

  • Teaching your child to tell you if they ever feel uncomfortable with an adult

  • Ensuring your child understands it is not their fault

 

7. KNOW THE WARNING SIGNS THAT YOUR CHILD HAS BEEN SEXUALLY VIOLATED.

These may include:

  • regressive behaviors such as bed wetting

  • fear of certain people, places or things

  • not wanting to eat or changes in appetite

  • trouble sleeping or having nightmares

  • feeling shameful or guilty

  • withdrawing from loved ones

  • sexualized behaviors

  • victimizing others

  • depressive mood

  • academic decline

  • trouble sleeping or having nightmares

  • aggression

  • sexualized behaviors

  • change in appetite

8.    TRUST YOUR GUT INSTINCT

Sometimes you worry what others will think your child hesitates to show physical affection with someone. However, you must always respect your child’s feelings first and foremost.

Talking to Your Child about Sexual Abuse: 8 Steps

  1. Teach children the correct names of private body parts.

  2. Most children are abused by someone they know and trust so do not focus on just “strangers.”.

  3. Teach children how to keep their body safe and the difference between “appropriate” and “inappropriate” touching.

  4. Talk to children about their right to make decisions about their bodies. Empower children to say no when they do not want to be touched, even if it is in non-sexual ways such as respectfully refusing hugs and to say no to touching others.

  5. Make sure children know that adults and older children never need help with their private body parts such as when going to the bathroom or bathing.

  6. Teach children to bathe, wipe and clean themselves, so they do not need the help of adults or older children.

  7. Explain to children the difference between good secrets (like surprise visits from loved ones or parties) and bad secrets (those that are to be kept secret forever, which are not okay).

  8. Listen to your gut instincts! If you feel uneasy about someone, do not ever leave your child with them. If you are concerned about possible sexual abuse, seek out information from professionals and educate yourself on the warning signs.

A great video to watch with children that can be used as a learning tool to teach them how to protect themselves.