Protecting Children From Sexual AbuseShare

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sexual abuse is one of those topics we’d rather not talk about, but is so necessary, especially to our children. Just informing your kids about their bodies, and being open to any sexuality topic, is a good way to start. Don’t expect your kids to be the first ones to approach the topic. YOU BE THE ADULT AND APPROACH THESE TOPICS. This allows kids to know that they can talk to you about this and ANY OTHER TOPIC!

All people need good, healthy touches. These may include, pats on the back, hugs, holding hands, etc. Talk to children about appropriate and inappropriate touches. Explain that a person’s body is private and each person has the right to say “NO” to unwanted touches. For instance, doctors and nurses may need to touch our bodies, but even they can ask beforehand. (Generally, they will ask for another person to be in the room, at the time of the touches, and very often, that other person will be the parent or caregiver.)

This is a good practice for all of us. It is our responsibility, to make certain our children are rarely ALONE with another adult, to lower the risk of inappropriate touches from happening. This might be true in after school activities, tutoring, religious trainings, or rehearsals of any kind. These should take place in very open areas, or with another person present. If your child is staying at a friend’s home, you should speak to the parent. Ask what other adults or older children will be around your child during their stay. Tell children, young or old, that they are ALWAYS safer in a group. (Again, this is true for ANYONE!)

Remind children often that they can talk to you about ANYTHING, and that there should not be secrets about touches.

Lastly, be aware of signs of sexual abuse (see below) and call Child Protective Services (1-800-800-5556) if you do suspect there has been abuse. Be calm and supportive to the child. Remind them it was NOT their fault, and that you will be there for them.

(SIGNS of Sexual Abuse: nightmares, extreme mood or appetite changes, physical discomfort, fear of certain people or places, withdrawal or aggressive behaviors, sexual play with dolls, toys or other children.)

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