KNOW how to recognize boundary violations and how offenders operate. It’s up to us as adults to do all we can to prevent child sexual abuse and create safe environments for children. Teaching children about their bodies, recognizing warning signs, and responding to any concerns are important first steps. Even very young children can learn some skills to help keep themselves safe from sexual abuse, but it’s up to parents to help them learn what they need to know. Here are some important things you can teach that will help you help your child stay safe.
Teach Your Child Rules About Touching Their Body
Preschoolers understand the idea of rules, such as rules about playing nicely with others and rules about being safe, like wearing seat belts. So as you teach these rules, just add rules about touching their bodies.
First, talk to your child about body parts, including private parts.This will give your child words to use when he/she needs to tell you anything about his/her body, like an injury or rash or other problem in that area.
Then add rules about private parts, like “Never let other people touch your private parts unless Mommy or Daddy knows about it.” Children also need to know what to do when someone breaks the rules about touching. Teach them:
SEE. Keep your eyes and ears open for signs of abuse and talk with your child, asking them about your concerns. If something is wrong, you may see a sudden change in your child’s behavior, or you may hear unusual comments. If you see or hear these things, follow up. Find a relaxed time to talk with them.
Child Abuse Warning Signs
Watch for these things in adults that may signify potential abuse. Remember, offenders seek access, privacy & control.
Emotional Boundary Violations
Physical Boundary Violations
Behavioral Boundary Violations
RESPOND. If you see warning signs from your child or adult, or you hear about something that sounds like abuse, report it immediately.
If your child tells you about sexual abuse or inappropriate behavior, here’s how to react. Your response plays a big role in how your child understands abuse and how he/she recovers.
If what you learn from your child or if what you’ve observed or overheard at practice sounds like abuse, call Child Protective Services or the police. If what you learn from your child, or if what you’ve observed or overheard at practice, sounds like a boundary violation, suspicious or inappropriate behavior, or a policy violation, then: