Protecting your children from sexual abuse
Be aware of your child’s environment. Who are the people who spend time with your child?
- Baby sitter/Day care
- Their school friends
- Your dating relationships. How well do you know them?
Develop a good talking relationship with your children. When parents have a good talking relationship with their children:
- Children feel safe
- It lets children know they can talk to you about anything
Teach your children about personal safety. Talk to your children about touching in the context of safety.
- Touching is a safety issue just like crossing the street safely, or fire safety, or water safety.
- Using “safety rules” won’t scare your child
- Children understand the importance of rules
- Make family rules about touching that fit your family’s values and culture
NO. . . GO . . . TELL . . .
NO to touch I don’t like . . .
Remind your child that her/his body belongs to them. No one has the right to touch her/him if she/he doesn’t want them to.
GO away from the person who touched me. . .
TELL someone I trust. . .
Encourage your child to tell someone they trust if they have been touched or have been asked to touch someone.
Remind your child to keep telling until someone listens! Even very young children can learn about NO . . . GO . . . TELL . . .
Encourage your children to trust their own feelings. If anything feels funny or wrong to them, they can say “NO”. This is not a “one” time conversation. Practice these rules with your children just like you do for fire safety, etc…
Ideas for Safety Rules
Children need to be reminded that adults and/or children should:
- NEVER ask you to keep a secret about touching.
- It is secrecy that allows the abuse to continue.
- NEVER touch you anywhere that’s private, like where your bathing suit covers you.
- NEVER ask you to touch them anywhere private.
- NEVER reach under your clothes or try to get you to take off your clothes.
- NEVER try to take pictures of you without your clothes
Red Flags That May Concern You
- The adult is more interested in child relationships than adult relationships
- The child doesn’t want to be with that person
- The person seems inappropriate in the way he/she acts with the child
- The person has a previous history of sexually abusing children
- The person seems unusually interested in a particular child and wants to spend time alone with her/him