How can I prevent sexual abuse?

When it comes to sexual abuse, prevention is the key. So, what can parents do to prevent child sexual abuse? Here are five tips that will help you keep your children safe. 

1. LEARN AS MUCH INFORMATION AS YOU CAN ABOUT PHYSICAL AND SEXUAL ABUSE.

Learn who is most likely to commit crimes of abuse, why adults abuse children, etc. Seek out preventative information about child sexual abuse

2. LISTEN AND TALK WITH YOUR CHILDREN.

Communication is the most important principle in keeping your kids safe from sexual abuse. Create a climate in your home where kids are not afraid to share information about things they may be embarrassed or afraid about. Be willing to share what you know about sexual abuse and how to prevent it with your children. Tell your children the basics such as, " No one has the right to touch your body without your permission." 

3. TEACH THE 5 PERSONAL SAFETY BOUNDARY RULES.

Start early with your children (in an age appropriate way) and set clear safety boundary rules for your children. The following list gives the five personal safety boundary rules.

  • No one should look at the private parts of your body.
  • No one should ask you to look at the private parts of their body.
  • No one should touch the private parts of your body.
  • No one should ask you to touch the private parts of their body.
  • No one should show you pictures of private parts on the TV, in magazines, on the computer or on a cellphone.

4. HELPFUL TIPS WHEN TALKING TO YOUR CHILDREN.

Here are some tips to help you when you talk to your child about body safety:

  • Use proper names for all their private parts. (Many children are not able to tell about the abuse because they do not know the proper words to use and tend to use nicknames for their private areas.)
  • Safety rules apply to ALL adults, not just to strangers. Emphasize that NO ONE should try to break boundary rules. 
  • Have the child repeat the phrase "My Body Belongs to Me". At the end of the initial discussion ask the child "Who does your body belong to?" The child should be able to say "my body belongs to me."
  • It is okay to say NO if someone tries to touch their body or do things that make them feel uncomfortable, no matter who the person.
  • They should never keep secrets about touching, no matter what the person says.
  • If someone touches them, tell and keep telling until someone listens!
  • No matter what, children need to know that if someone tries to break boundary rules, it's not the child's fault.
  • Let the child know that they won't get in trouble if someone tries to break boundary rules and they come to tell you. You are a safe person they can tell. 

5. KNOW THE ADULTS AND TEENS IN YOUR CHILDREN'S LIVES.

From getting to know teachers, coaches and youth workers to interviewing potential baby sitters, you should know as much as you can about the adults and teens with whom your children spend time. Any adult that seems more interested in your children than you do should raise a cautionary flag in your mind. 

6. KEEP TABS ON YOUR KIDS.

Know where your children are and whom they are with. Make it a family rule that if your children's plans change, they must notify you before they do something or go somewhere you don't know about.