Talk to kids about personal (body) safety by initiating ongoing age-appropriate conversations. Teach appropriate names for body parts. Avoid teaching nick names.
Teach kids not to keep secrets and to report unwelcoming touching or sexual behavior to a trusted adult. Review trusted adults: parent, doctor, police office, etc.
Know everything you can about the people who care for your children. Ask for recommendations and seek out information. Ask your child about what he/she does when with a babysitter, at a friend’s house, etc.
Select activities for children through organizations that carefully screen their staff and volunteers who work with kids. Youth serving organizations should have policies that discourage one-on-one isolated interactions between children and adults.
Use “What If” situations with children and identify appropriate safety strategies. “What if you become lost from mom/dad/aunt/uncle/etc..?” “What if you feel uncomfortable at a friend’s house/babysitter/school/etc..?” Create and practice different action plans so children know how to get help and who to get help from.
Monitor children’s online activity for all ages. Educate children the dangers of posting personal information or photos online. Teach children to end any online communication with an unknown person that asks for any identifying information or is sexual in nature.
When they can't speak out, they may act out:
Sexual behavior and knowledge that "too adult" for their age
Change in sleep habits without explanation
Has secrets with adults or children that they refuse to discuss
Views body as repulsive, bad or dirty
Sudden mood changes, depression, anxiety
Fear or dislike of certain people or places
Risky behavior such as running away, drug or alcohol use, self-harm
Changes including withdrawal, anger or aggression
Drop in school performance or frequent absences from school
New items such as money, clothes, toys or phone without reason
We can connect your family to therapists who specialize in addressing child sex abuse, as well as children with Problematic Sexual Behaviors