Keys to Preventing Sexual Abuse of Children
All children are curious about sex. The more children know about their own sexuality, the less likely it is that others will take advantage of them because of their lack of knowledge.
Having ongoing conversations with children and teens about their own developing sexuality is an important part of sexual abuse prevention. Early messages that sex and sexuality are shameful or not to be discussed can lead to children keeping secrets about sexual touching.
Here are some key reasons why healthy sexuality education should be an important part of your safety plan:
- Communicating your willingness to discuss sexual issues with your child or teen lets them know that they can turn to you when they feel confused or have questions.
- By feeling safe to speak with you about sex and sexuality, children and teens are more likely to tell you if they have been harmed, or if they have engaged in troubling behaviors.
- Encouraging your children to speak openly with you about sexual concerns helps counteract the secrecy needed to hide sexually abusive behaviors.
- Healthy sexuality education makes it more likely that children will understand when they need help, and more likely that they will go ahead and seek that help from an adult.
- Discussions help define safe social, physical and sexual boundaries for children who might be confused or otherwise act in inappropriate or harmful ways.
- You can show your child or teen that they can rely on you for accurate information. Living in a culture where we are all exposed to confusing and misleading sexual imagery and information makes this particularly important.
- Holding honest and respectful discussions about sexual issues gives you the opportunity to impart your values to your children.
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- Recognizing Warning Signs
- Definitions of Child Sexual Abuse
- How Abuse Happens
- Understanding Sexual Behavior in Kids
- Warning Signs in Adults and Children
- Warning Signs of Abuse in Children (Behavioral and Physical)
- Signs an Adult May be At-Risk to Harm a Child
- Behaviors to Watch Out for When Adults are with Children
- How Can I Tell if My Child Has Been Sexually Abused?
- Warning Signs a Young Person May Be a Target of Online Sexual Abuse
- Warning Signs of Someone's Dangerous or Illegal Online Activity
- Prevention and Safety
- Keys to Preventing Sexual Abuse of Children
- Creating a Plan for Safety
- Considering Filing Reports
- Talking About It
- Finding the Courage to Speak Up
- Speaking to Someone with a Sexual Behavior Problem
- When a Child Tells About Sexual Abuse
- How Should I Respond to the Child?
- What Should I Do after a Child Tells?
- How Can I Better Understand What My Child is Going Through?
- Possible Reactions of Non-Offending Parents and Caring Adults
- Is the Child Telling Me the Truth?
- What Might the Person Who Has Offended Be Thinking or Feeling after a Disclosure?
- Recovery and Therapy
- For Children and Adults Who Have Been Abused
- For Those At-Risk to Abuse Others or Who Have Offended
- For Parents and Caregivers
- Reporting and Legal Issues
- Filing Reports
- Child Protective Services and Police
- Legal Issues